Top 20 Albums of the Juice Generation

In their current issue, Spin Magazine breaks down the 100 Greatest Albums between 1985 and 2005.

Since it was done by Spin, the focus of the list is alternative and rap music. This list prompted me to come up with my own countdown. The 3 elements which factored in making up my list were originality, influence, and most importantly, music that I could not personally keep off the list. Remember these rankings reflect Scott Long choices.

1. Radiohead- The Bends (1995)
Despite featuring Beavis’ favorite song, Creep, Radiohead’s rookie offering, “Pablo Honey” didn’t really give anyone an idea of the two masterpieces that would follow. “The Bends” is one seamless piece of music, marrying U2 dramatics, with Beatlesque harmonies. Actually, this album reminds me some of Who’s Next, with great rock songs, High and Dry and Just, plus delicate ballads like Fake Plastic Trees and Street Spirit. I can understand anyone choosing “OK Computer” over “The Bends”, but how SPIN kept this masterpiece off of their entire list is by far their biggest omission.

2. Prince- Sign ‘o’ the Times (1987)
The best album of his career, Sign is a diverse collection of styles that no one else on this planet could have done. It’s hard to name a better pop song, with a dynamic social message than the title track. The album as a whole melds funk and psychedelica, into a classic.

3. U2- Achtung Baby (1991)
After taking a lot of shots for being too pretentious on the underrated “Rattle and Hum”, U2 made the most drastic stylistic turn that any major band has ever attempted and guess what, it’s flawless. From the edgy first single, “The Fly” to the bands greatest ballad “One”, Achtung was a statement that U2 was still the best band in the world. (Favorite song: Until the End of the World.)

4. REM- Automatic for the People (1992)
When they begin the begin, Michael Stipe used his voice like another instrument, so it was a question if the band was capable of writing quality lyrics. This is the album where they put it all together. “Man on the Moon” is a brilliant look at people who live outside the mainstream, while “Everybody Hurts” and “Nightswimming” are the two best ballads of their career. America’s greatest band of the past 20 years.

5. Nine Inch Nails- The Downward Spiral (1994)
Darkness on the edge, in the middle, and all over the town. Trent Rexnor, who works like an industrial Prince, putting all the parts together in his studio, followed up his debut, “Pretty Hate Machine”, with a concept album, which showed how anger could be filled with beauty and emotion. It’s the best industrial album of all-time and it’s difficult to see how it could be topped.

6. Pixies- Doolittle (1989)
Right from the start, with “Debaser”, the Pixies shatter your eardrums with melodious distortion. While Nirvana made popular the quiet/loud dynamic, even Cobain would have admitted that the Pixies were a large influence on his band. Songs like “Monkey Gone to Heaven” and “Here Comes Your Man” sound better today than they did when they originally came out.

7. Nirvana- In Utero (1991) 8. Nirvana- Nevermind (1993)
Hard for me to rate one over the other, as “In Utero” sounds fresher, but “Nevermind” truly changed the world of music, as it opened radio ears to the best 3 year period over the airwaves in my lifetime. The little mentioned, but key aspect of “Nevermind” was the incredible wall of sound that producer Butch Vig added to the band’s alternative hooks. As a follow-up to this ear candy, the band hired producer Steve Albini (Pixies) to add to the darker music of “In Utero” and as usual, Albini shredded the sound making it a different, but completely worthy follow-up to “Nevermind”.

9. Radiohead- OK Computer (1997)
Rated Number 1 on SPIN Magazine’s list, “OK Computer” began the band’s direction towards electronic sound, as this concept album discusses how computers have dehumanized us. While the music is much different than “The Bends”, both are most fully realized when listened to from beginning to end. On both this one and “The Downward Spiral”, the influence of Pink Floyd is apparent.

10. Hole- Live Through This (1994)
Has one man had a better run of creating great music than what Kurt Cobain did between 1991-1994? While I’m confident that Cobain wrote most of the music on “Live Through This”, Courtney Love deserves a lot of credit for the lyrics and the vocals she brings to this classic. On many levels, this album surpasses even Nirvana, as Love throws herself into her material, which is as emotional and as honest as anything I’ve ever heard.

11. U2- Joshua Tree (1987)
SPIN Magazine’s second major omission, this is the album that put U2 on the list of great rock and roll bands, as “Joshua Tree” is alternative classic rock. The first three songs were the hits, but it’s the next 6 that follow them, which make it so great. “Bullet the Blue Sky”, “In God’s Country”, “Trip Through Your Wires”, and “One Tree Hill” are songs that most bands would dream of writing, but were not even singles for U2.

12. Replacements- Tim (1985)
No album sounds more like college radio than “Tim”, as Paul Westerberg even tipped his hat to the small stations on “Left of the Dial”. While Prince was at his peak, producing epics in the Twin Cities, the Replacements were making very different, but just as compelling music in the same part of the country. On “Tim”, Westerberg merged punk ethos, with classic rock touches, which made for a gem which both punk and alt. country bands have echoed since then.

13. George Michael- Faith (1987)
In case you might have forgotten, between the pop star Wham days and the bathroom blowjobs of more recent times, Michael made some great music. This is the best pop album on the list. “I Want Your Sex” was a song Prince would have released as a single, while the ballads have a jazzy feel that would fit beautifully on a Diane Krall release. I know I will get slagged for including it here, but it belongs.

14. Public Enemy- Fear of a Black Planet (1990)
While their first 2 releases set the table, it’s “Fear of a Black Planet” which shows PE at their best. “Welcome to the Terrordome” and “Fight the Power” spit out their anger, with an intelligence that fit a band influenced by Malcom X. The Bomb Squad is at its peak, while Chuck D. raps with an urgency not heard before or since. It also features Flavor Flav’s greatest moment, 911 is a Joke.

15. Rage Against the Machine (1992)
Influenced greatly by Public Enemy, Rage came out of the shoot with a chip on it’s shoulder, but with the added bonus of Tom Morello’s guitar pyrotechnics, which were the most unique since Eddie Van Halen. Every song is a bombtrack, as “Freedom” has a scream that Roger Daltrey would be proud of.

16. Pavement- Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain (1994)
While “Slanted and Enchanted” is the one that sits on most of the lists, I’ve never been able to get past the lo-fi recording. On their follow-up, they polished the songs just enough to make for their most accessible and at the same time, best Pavement release. Amazingly for a band that main influences are the Velvet Underground and Sonic Youth, the song “Cut Your Hair” received radio and MTV airplay.

17. Pixies- Surfer Rosa (1988)
Sure the distorted glory of the twin guitar attack of Joey Santiago and Black Francis are fantastic, but my favorite part of the Pixies is the beautiful harmonies that Francis and Kim Deal blend. “Where is My Mind” was the first song I ever heard by the band and it’s still my favorite. “Broken Face” and “Bone Machine” are harder edged tunes, but feature the same vocal blend.

18. The White Stripes- Elephant (2003)
The best blues-rock album since Led Zeppelin, Jack and Meg White are a bombastic wonder slamming the skins and ripping guitar chords, which sound new and old at the same time. Just when you think you have them figured out, the Stripes turn Bacharach on his head, with “I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself” or “It’s True that We Love Each Other”, which gives a preview of what Jack White would do producing Loretta Lynn. While the garage rock revival has brought some good bands to the forefront, it’s the White Stripes which truly standout.

19. Green Day- American Idiot (2004)
The best concept album since OK Computer, this album just gets better with repeated listens. Part punk, part Beach Boys, part “Who Sells Out”, Green Day demonstrates that punk bands can evolve. Drummer Tre Cool is the dominant player, especially on “Jesus of Suburbia”.

20. Matthew Sweet- Girlfriend (1991)
From Beatle-like pop (Girlfriend, I’ve Been Waiting), alt. country (Winona, I Wanted to Tell You), and rock (Divine Intervention, Holy War), Matthew Sweet delivered a flawless performance. The twin guitar attack of Robert Quine and Richard Lloyd added a special edge to Sweet’s hooks. Sweet has a couple of other releases just outside the Top 100.

21. John Mellencamp- Scarecrow (1985)
22. Bruce Springsteen- Tunnel of Love (1987)
23. Elvis Costello- King of America (1986)
24. Lyle Lovett- Joshua Judges Ruth (1992)
25. Peter Gabriel- So (1986)

Up until 1985, he was Johnny Cougar, a creation by David Bowie’s former manager. He had just started to be more of John Mellencamp over the preceding 2 albums. (see Pink Houses) Then came the “Scarecrow”, making a large grab at Springsteen, Guthrie, and Dylan. This is the sound of middle of America.
“Tunnel of Love” is the most honest record a major artist has ever released about his personal life. Oh and by the way, the music is great, also. “Brilliant Disguise” is Springsteen’s best relationship song.
The best alt. country record I’ve ever heard wasn’t by Wilco, Son Volt, or Gram Parsons, it’s by a British bloke by the name of Declan McManus. “King of America” is the most underrated release of Elvis Costello’s career. Check out the lyrics of Brilliant Mistake.
How is it that country radio can’t get enough of Shania’s and Toby’s, but have no room for the magnificent music of Lyle Lovett. There are at least 4 of his CD’s I would put in my Top 200, but “Joshua Judges Ruth” is the peak. From spirituals like “Church” and “I’ve Been to Memphis”, which demonstrate the talents of his great band and wonderful backup singers, to ballads like “North Dakota”, this is a great place to discover Lovett. “And there is nothing so unwavering as a woman, when she’s already made up her mind”— (from She’s Already Made Up Her Mind)
Every once in awhile, a great artist produces something that even the masses can’t escape, which is what happened in 1986-87, with “So”. Known for his atmospheric music, Gabriel kicked off the album with 2 funky singles, “Sledgehammer” and “Big Time”. Add in 3 of the best ballads of the 80’s, “Red Rain”, “Don’t Give Up”, “In Your Eyes”, and you have a piece of work that is smart and sensuous. (Ask Lloyd Dobbler)

26. Wilco- Being There (1996)
27. Pearl Jam- Vs (1993)
28. Beck- Odelay (1996)
29. Moby- Play (1999)
30. PJ Harvey- Rid of Me (1993)

While “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot” is the one always on the lists, it’s “Being There” which demonstrates Wilco at their best. Here is Jeff Tweedy exploring different musical genres, but always staying true to what he does best, the alt. country sound. Have you ever wondered if Alex Chilton and Johnny Cash made an album together, what it would sound like? Look no further.
The sophomore release by Pearl Jam is the best melding of their anthem rock style and their more artistic leanings. This and the follow-up, Vitalogy, pointed to the idea that Vedder would lead a band somewhere between The Who and REM. Unfortunately, like Radiohead, they have decided to step away from any commercial instincts, leaving U2 without competition for “Greatest Band in the World”.
“You know where it’s at—2 turntables and a microphone.” Beck appeared from another planet on the excellent “Mellow Gold”, but it’s on “Odelay” that he will be remembered most for. A sound collage, which brings about every musical style together and somehow takes the diverse mix and makes it blend into great songs.
On the subject of blended styles, “Play” is right there. Not a fan of Moby’s before “Play”, his use of blues recordings that Alan Lomax had collected during the first half of the 20th Century is brilliant, giving techno the soul it lacks.
Polly Jean Harvey is a modern blues singer, who with the great producer, Steve Albini at the controls, came together to great effect. “Rid of Me” is the sound of a woman in heat, one who is vulnerable, yet strong, passionately in control, but always on the edge of flying completely out of control.

31. Living Color- Time’s Up (1990)
32. Soundgarden- Superunknown (1994)
33. Everclear- Sparkle and Fade (1995)
34. Sugar- Copper Blue (1992)
35. The Red Hot Chili Peppers- Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991)

Although their self-titled debut was excellent, “Time’s Up” was even better, showing off their talents in many musical genres. Another influenced by Public Enemy, guitarist Vernon Reid is one of the best I’ve ever heard. Corey Glover’s singing was just as great, which makes one wonder why neither one of them has had much of musical career since this release. One to Download: “Love Rears It Ugly Head”
Somewhere in-between Metal and Grunge was Soundgarden. Led by Chris Cornell’s operatic vocals, “Superunknown” is the second of three top-notch albums they released.
At this point, Cornell’s fixation on the sun, the waves, and blackness still seemed fresh. Definitely don’t try to karaoke “The Day I Tried to Live”
Art Alexakis has been slammed for being Kurt Light, but while he’s not as good as Cobain, he should be given credit for making some great music, which this album best demonstrates. “Santa Monica” is one of the 10 best rock songs of this era, while “Heroin Girl” and “You Make Me Feel Like a Whore” show the direct way Everclear’s lyrics are.
I’ve tried and tried, but Husker Du just has never been something I’ve felt much passion for. Now, Bob Mould’s solo work and with Sugar are a whole different story, with “Copper Blue” being the best. To me the ideal way to enjoy Mould is with the slick production values that are present with Sugar and this is a pop album, with distorted sound. “Good Idea” is the best Frank Black song, not written by him.
While always a great live band, it took an ace producer like Rick Rubin to help bring their talents to the recording studio. “Suck My Kiss” and “Give It Away” are the 2 best funk rock songs of this era, while unexpectedly, 2 great ballads “Breaking the Girl” and “Under the Bridge” give the record a different feel than they had shown before.

36. Dire Straits- Brother in Arms (1985)
37. REM- Out of Time (1991)
38. REM- Life’s Rich Pageant (1986)
39. Bruce Springsteen- The Rising (2002)
40. U2- All that You Can’t Leave Behind (2000)

Remember the days when a mature band could kick it up a notch and become superstars? Well, in the world of segmented music, those days are over, as modern marketing doesn’t allow for guys who look like Mark Knopfler to become sensations in the middle of their careers. “Brothers in Arms” capitalized on a great chorus sung by Sting, plus a video that brilliantly satirized what marketing was doing then on MTV and the channel ate it up. “Brothers in Arms” is a song Roger Water’s wishes he would have written. (Note: I HATE the song “Walk of Life”, but the rest of the album is great.)
“Out of Time” was the release that put REM on the map, when it came to international stardom. What a time period 1991-92 was, with “Losing My Religion” fighting it out on the charts with “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, “Alive”, and “One”. While none of them were radio hits, the last 5 songs on the CD are all magnificent.
Five years before this release, REM put out “Life’s Rich Pageant, which is a transitional record for the band, with Michael Stipe clearly singing the words, but I’ll be damned if I know what half of them mean. Whatever he was singing about, the result was some great sounding music, with “Begin the Begin”, their best rocker of the 80’s. Considering that Mellencamp producer, Don Gehman did the same on this record; it’s not surprising the record has a Scarecrow-like sound. “Superman” is a hidden track and Mike Mills’ top lead vocals with the band. “Fall on Me” has a gorgeous harmony and is one of their best.
After “Tunnel of Love”, Bruce Springsteen had done some spotty work. “The Rising” is an album which speaks to the events of 9/11 more clearly than any other musician has done and is a triumphant return for the Boss. The first recording he had done with the E Street Band in 17 years, it is the best the band had sounded since “The River”. Song after song are dramatic and filled with feeling that only U2 can match.
When I think of the TV concert for the victims of 9/11, it’s Springsteen and U2 that stand out above everyone else. While not on the scale of Springsteen’s comeback, “All that You Can’t Leave Behind” was a return to the dramatic rock U2 does best. “Beautiful Day” has the energy and power that few rock songs capture, while “In a Little While” and “Walk On” are gospel-tinged pleas, which hit all the right notes. While it was written more than a year before 9/11, “Peace on Earth” said a lot more about the current state of our world than any jingoistic Toby Keith or Daryl Worley song.

41. Run DMC- Raising Hell (1986)
42. Eminem- The Marshall Mathers LP (2000)
43. Eric B and Rakim- Paid in Full (1987)
44. Beastie Boys- Ill Communication (1994)
45. Morphine- Cure for Pain (1993)

Until “Raising Hell”, rap played to just a segment of the population, but Run DMC changed that with their duet with Aerosmith on “Walk that Way”. The album is a collection of singles, which acts as a bridge between the old school and newer, more hardcore rap.
Eminem can be hard to like, but his talent shines through these obstacles, especially on “Marshall Mathers”. Funny, sophomoric, smart, vile, Slim Shady is a cartoon with a lot of substance. On the song “Stan”, he raps over a little known (at the time) singer, Dido and creates the best single of 2000.
Outside of Grandmaster Flash, the early days of rap had MC’s using party voices, like Kurtis Blow, Whodini, and the Sugarhill Gang. Rakim took it to a whole nutha’ level. It could be argued that “Paid in Full” is the most sampled, most influential rap album of all-time and I’ve still never heard a voice more commanding in the genre.
“Paul’s Boutique” is the trendy choice of critics, but I like “Ill Communication” best, as it’s jazzy music blends with great rapping (I’ve got more action than my man John Woo, and I’ve got mad hits like I was Rod Carew) combine for a more complete recording. Also points for the best video of all-time, (Sabotage) which was directed by the best in the biz, Spike Jonze.
Who says you need to have a guitar to be a grunge band. Led by a bass and a saxophone, “Cure for Pain” is a modern-day detective novel comes to life. Check out the song Thursday, if you need some proof. http://www.lyricsdepot.com/morphine/thursday.html

46. INXS- Kick (1987)
47. Ben Folds 5 (1995)
48. Rufus Wainwright- Poses (2002)
49. The Cure- Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me (1987)
50. Depeche Mode- Violator (1990)

INXS had put out some good songs on their first 4 LP’s, but with “Listen Like Thieves” (1985), the band made a statement that they were better than just being a part of the New Wave wave. “Kick” was even stronger, with every song laden with hooks. Michael Hutchence was one of the most versatile singers in rock history, as he proved with funk rock songs like “New Sensation” and “Wild Life”, while completely delivering on a great ballad like “Never Gonna Tear Us Apart”. One of the best groups of the era.
During a time when all alternative music seemed to be tinged, if not completely overwhelmed with grunge, Ben Folds debuted with an album that had the energy and attitude of the Seattle scene, but used a piano to rock the house. Somewhere between Joe Jackson and Elton John, Folds fit in sound, but his lyrics are often focused on what it’s like to not be part of the cool scene. “Alice Childress” points to the influence of Brian Wilson, which becomes more apparent in his solo work.
While it might not reach the peaks of Jeff Buckley’s work, “Poses” is a more complete record, as it is filled with gems that sound timeless. Rufus Wainwright has a very affected style of singing , but with the words and melodies he brings to “Poses”, it works in some magical Beatles meets Sondheim style. “Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk” manages to be funny and beautiful at the same time, while on most of the other tracks, there is a dreany quality to the music, which blends wonderfully with Wainwright’s voice.
Much like The Smiths and New Order, The Cure were a band that I thought made great singles, but I never felt they put together a top notch Long Player. “Kiss Me”, while still having some filler, has so many quality songs that you can get past the fluff. While Scritti Politti made the quintessential British alternative Prince album (Cupid and Psyche), the Cure added some of these Prince elements, while making an even better record than Scritti Politti.
Another great singles band is Depeche Mode, but on Violator the singles are so great, they make up for the weaker tracks. “Personal Jesus” and “Enjoy the Silence” are 2 of the best dance tracks of the era. The remixes are worth downloading.

51. Smashing Pumpkins- Siamese Dream (1993)
52. Green Day- Dookie (1994)
53. Urge Overkill- Saturation (1993)
54. Frank Black (1993)
55. Offspring- Smash (1994)

“Siamese Dream” had a sound like modern rock Boston. “Today” is majestic, while “Cherub Rock” demands you crank it on your car stereo. “Disarm” is awful.
When “Dookie” came out, Billy Joe’s vocals demanded you listen to them, as this was the poppiest punk ever recorded. “Longview” and “Basket Case” hold up completely.
Urge Overkill had put out some great music on prior releases, but this is one case where having Albini and Vig produce was holding them back. Like Cheap Trick, Urge was a band, which needed clear pop crunch and on “Saturation” they found it. “Sister Havana” is one of the Top 10 alternative songs of the era, while the rest of the disc features singer Nash Kato’s unique vocals. Check out the follow-up “Exit the Dragon”, also.
When I first heard the Offspring, I acknowledged their talents, but couldn’t truly embrace their sellout tendencies. Give me Bad Religion, I would’ve told you. Well, as the years have gone by, I’m more and more of a fan, as “Smash” is the greatest high school, drive around in your bitchin’ Camaro, with your speakers blastin’ music of the past 20 years.

56. The Call- Reconciled (1986)
57. Live- Throwing Copper (1994)
58. Cake- Fashion Nugget (1996)
59. Crowded House- Temple of Low Men (1988)
60. Del Amitri- Change Everything (1992)

Much like the next Dylan or next Jordan, there have been a lot of the next U2’s. The Call and Live are the 2 best in this category. “Reconciled” is one anthem after another, with “Everywhere I Go” (with backup vocals by Peter Gabriel and Jim Kerr), I Still Believe, and “Oklahoma” the standouts. The Call’s lead singer “Micheal Been is an under appreciated musical talent. On ‘Throwing Copper”, the band Live made a huge step up from their debut. The next 2 releases by Live, “Secret Samadhi” and “The Distance to Here” are worth checking out, as well.
Cake is one of the most unique bands on this list, as they blend funk, rock, rap, and Latin horns, which create an unlikely sweet jam. “The Distance” is another on the Top 10 rock songs list of the era. While they put out other good albums, there is no filler on “Fashion Nugget”.
I would rate Crowded House and Del Amitri, the two most underrated bands on this list. Led by former Split Enz front man, Neil Finn, all 4 of their releases are of top quality. Their second, “Temple of the Low Men” is my fav., as Beatlesque harmonies are juxtaposed with some great dark songs. “Into Temptation” is a gorgeous ballad.
Del Amitri is similar to Crowded House in style and production, with “Twisted” and “Some Other Suckers Parade” just missing the Top 100. “Change Everything” is their best work, with some of the greatest dark love songs ever put on one album. Start with “Always the Last to Know” and “Be My Downfall”.

61. Chris Whitley- Living with the Law (1991)
62. Robbie Robertson (1987)
63. Steve Earle- El Corazon (1997)
64. John Mellencamp- The Lonesome Jubilee (1987)
65. Sting- Dream of the Blue Turtles (1985)

It’s amazing that Chris Whitley’s atmospheric blues debut came 14 years ago, but it sounds as good today, as it ever has. Someone could make a great Western movie, just making videos of the dusty tunes on “Living with the Law”.
With help from an all-star lineup including U2, Peter Gabriel, Bodeans, and, Daniel Lanois, Robbie Robertson’s solo debut is another atmospheric classic. Robertson’s smartly uses these artists to supplement his gravelly, Tom Waits/Leonard Cohen voice.
My favorite of a long list of quality recordings by Steve Earle is “El Corazon”, which is even better than his prior effort, the excellent “I Feel Alright”.
The underrated follow-up to “Scarecrow”, there is not a clinker on “The Lonesome Jubilee”. By the way, Mellencamp’s “Mr. Happy Go Lucky” (’96) is just off the Top 100.
When Sting left the Police and released his solo debut, many critics attacked him. Well, 20 years later, this album really holds up, as the musicians Sting surrounded himself with, are amazing players. Challenging lyrics, mixed with some diverse grooves, leave it Sting’s best solo record. “Ten Summoner’s Tales” is second behind the “Blue Turtles”.

66. Jellyfish- Bellybutton (1990)
67. Jason Falkner- Author Unknown (1996)
68. XTC- Skylarking (1986)
69. Lemonheads- It’s a Shame About Ray (1992)
70. Jeff Buckley- Grace (1994)

Simply the purest ear candy ever pressed to a listening device, “Bellybutton” is a powerpop classic. The record that Badfinger and The Raspberries dreamed of. Jellyfish’s follow-up, “Split Milk” is another gem, which has a Beach Boys meet Queen sound.
Jellyfish guitarist, Jason Falkner, made an excellent album with Jon Brion in the group, The Grays, after his original band broke up, but it’s his 2 solo records which are his best work. His debut, the aptly titled “Author Unknown” is reminiscent of Todd Rundgren’s best work. “She Goes to Bed” and “Don’t Show My Heaven” are the standouts.
XTC produced some great singles over the past 20 years, but it’s “Skylarking” which is their most complete record. Man do I love Beatlesque pop.
Some athletes are known as underachievers, as their production doesn’t match their ability. Well Evan Dando is that to music, tantalizing you with his talents, but rarely putting together a complete work. “It’s a Shame About Ray” is the exception, demonstrating his ability with a complete album. “Confetti” is the best Dando rocker.
I know many will question why “Grace” is rated this low, but I just think it’s an incomplete album. I still rate it this highly, because of his influence on other artists and the transcendent nature of the songs, “Last Goodbye” and the cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”. Unfortunately, we will never know if he was the genius some claim he was.

71. Guns and Roses- Appetite for Destruction (1987)
72. The Cult- Electric (1987)
73. Faith No More- The Real Thing (1989)
74. Temple of the Dog (1992)
75. System of a Down- Toxicity (2001)
76. Perfect Circle- Mer de Noms (2000)
77. Queens of the Stone Age- Songs for the Deaf (2002)
Oh 1987, a world where Poison, Warrant, and Winger ruled rock radio. It still gives me the willies. Sure it was Nirvana that made the final purge of this pop metal plague, but it was Guns and Roses, which started their downfall. The pulsating energy of “Welcome to the Jungle” and the dark hooks of “Mr. Brownstone” are the best hard rock songs since Aerosmith’s 70’s prime.
Two other releases, which helped clear the Firehouse’s and Slaughter’s from the arenas were The Cult and Faith No More. “Electric” was a stylistic change of pace for The Cult, as producer Rick Rubin took it farther then the Zeppelin samples he used with the Beastie Boys and shaped an actual band to sound like Zeppelin, with “Back in Black” sound production. The Cult would never match this release. Its forgotten how fresh Faith No More sounded when they joined with new lead singer, Mike Patton. “Epic” truly lives up to its title, as “The Real Thing” was the first rap/metal album and it’s still the best of the genre. Their remake of “War Pigs” is the best Sabbath cover, ever.
Another forgotten music moment during the past 20 years is the tribute to Andrew Wood, which brought members of Pearl Jam together, with Chris Cornell fronting them. Unlike Soundgarden releases, this features Cornell singing from his heart. Check out Cornell and Vedder singing a duet on “Hunger Strike”. “I don’t mind stealing bread, from the mouth’s of decadence”
The best rock album of the past 5 years is “Toxicity”. The elements to System of the Down’s sound features thrash metal, jazz, rap, funk, and they somehow put all these ingredients together to create music that doesn’t leave out the hooks. Unlike most other bands today, they are not afraid to address social issues.
Tool is one of the Top 5 metal bands of this period, but singer Maynard James Keenan’s best album, was done by his other band, Perfect Circle. Mainly written by guitarist Billy Howerdel, “Mer de Noms” is goth rocker, with Pink Floyd flourishes.
“Songs for the Deaf” improves on Queens of the Stone Age debut, with a great rock sound, which features the best drumming of Dave Grohl’s career. If you like this record, check out Masters of Reality’s “Sunrise on the Sufferbus” (1993), which sounds similar, with it’s heavy Cream-like sound. (MOR’s drummer is the great Ginger Baker)

78. Shawn Colvin- A Few Small Repairs (1996)
79. Sarah McLachlan- Surfacing (1997)
80. Sheryl Crow (1996)
81. Dixie Chicks- Fly (1999)

82. Kelly Willis- What I Deserve (1999)
83. KD Lang- Absolute Torch and Twang (1989)
84. Alanis Morrisette- Jagged Little Pill (1995)

Here is my own personal Lilith Fair section. Shawn Colvin in the mid 90’s put out two outstanding releases, “Polaroids” and the even better, “A Few Small Repairs”. The best of all these chick albums from beginning to end. Colvin has a angelic voice that only Alison Krauss can top and Shawn’s a much better lyricist.
Sarah McLachlan isn’t a prolific artist, only releasing 3 studio albums over the past 13 years, but all them are quality works. “Surfacing” is her best, with the ethereal “Do What You Have to Do” and the sensuous “Adia” my personal faves.
After Sheryl Crow’s debut, many questioned if she was a producer creation, with Bill Bottrell, David Baerwald, and Kevin Gilbert helping write and produce most of her songs. Well, on her follow-up, Crow does a female channeling of the Rolling Stones and shut her critics up, as it’s the best work of her career. “If It Makes You Happy is a modern classic and don’t forget the underrated “It’s Hard to Make a Stand”.
Today, the country charts are filled with foxy mama’s, with MOR instincts. Don’t put the Dixie Chicks in this category, as they are talented musicians with a foot in classic country. They have fought record companies and country radio, while still succeeding.
Kelly Willis is just another case of a great country singer, who receives little airplay. (see Lovett, K.D. Lang, Kasey Chambers, Kathleen Edwards, Steve Earle) “Not Forgotten You” is Willis at her best and “Got a Feelin’ for You” is a smoky, sexy honky tonker.
Compared to Patsy Cline, I would argue this K. D. Lang record is more complete than any by Cline. “Pulling Back the Reigns” and “Trail of Broken Hearts” are amazing songs.
Like Offspring and the Counting Crows, I was not a big fan of Alanis Morrisette’s music, but as time has gone by, I have come to appreciate “Jagged Little Pill”. Kind of like a pop version of P.J. Harvey and Liz Phair, it’s amazing that lyrics this edgy could sell 30 million CD’s worldwide. Though her examples on “Ironic” are not true irony.

85. David and David- Boomtown (1987)
86. Counting Crows- Recovering the Satellites (1996)
87. Eurythmics- Be Yourself Tonight (1985)
88. Talking Heads- Little Creatures (1985)

One of the great one-shot groups was David and David. Like a West Coast version of Springsteen, David Baerwald’s songs and vocals told stories about people “swallowed by the cracks”.
Initially, when I heard the Counting Crows, I couldn’t get past the aping of Van Morrison, but I’ve come to appreciate the artistry of the band. Their most complete record, “Recovering the Satellites” has some great ballads and their most alternative rocker in “Angels of the Silences”.
The first couple of records by the Eurythmics were chilly new wave offerings, but with “Be Yourself Tonight”, the duo showed their white soul side, with Annie Lennox belting out like a British Aretha. Fav: “It’s Alright (Baby Coming Back)”
After a career of challenging listeners, the Talking Heads put together their most mainstream record, “Little Creatures” and it’s filled with quality singles. “And She Was” is their version of The Cars, while the delightful “Stay Up Late” and David Byrne’s gospel-tinged “Road to Nowhere” are delicious pop. Underrated record.

89. Ben Folds- Rockin’ the Suburbs (2001)
90. Posies- Frosting from the Beater (1993)
91. Spoon- Kill the Moonlight (2002)
92. Badly Drawn Boy- The Hour of the Wilderbeast (2000)
93. Marshall Crenshaw- Mary Jean and 9 Others (1987)
94. Jude Cole- I Don’t Know I Act this Way (1995)

If you noticed yet, I’m a real power-pop fan, so here are 6 excellent albums that you might have missed, which fit that musical genre. Ben Folds solo debut is a beautiful recording, which combines character studies like Costello, but music with pop flourishes like McCartney. “Annie Waits” and “Not the Same” are 2 standouts.
While the rest of the alternative scene and especially the Pacific Northwest were under a grunge tidal wave, a band from Seattle named the Posies were putting out power pop gems. They were generally ignored by the masses, but their fans know they are one of the best bands of the era. “Dream All Day” is the best song of 1993.
So you think there aren’t any great power pop bands today, well let me recommend the last 3 releases by Spoon. Even though they are from Texas, lead singer Britt Daniel sounds like he is from Liverpool, but it’s no Radiohead karaoke. I dare you to try to get the chorus of “The Way We Get By” out of your head.
Flying under the radar in the US, Damon Gough (AKA Badly Drawn Boy) is someone you should get to know. “The first track, “The Shining” is one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard, with a wonderful French horn musical intro. Sgt. Pepper musical sound.
Marshall Crenshaw started his career with six excellent albums, with my favorite, “Mary Jean and 9 Others”. “This is Easy”, Calling Out for Love (at Crying Time), and “Somebody’s Crying” are the standouts. Sadly, this CD is out of print.
Like an American Neil Finn, Jude Cole always had a hard time fitting a radio format, as his music is somewhere between pop and roots rock. While all 3 of his major label releases are excellent, “I Don’t Know Why I Act this Way” is my favorite, as it’s a rare introspective look at someone who knows there chance at stardom has probably passed them by. “Believe in You” is a Cole’s career best. Currently, Cole, who was set to be Kiefer Sutherland’s best man, when he was to marry Julia Roberts, is a partner with Sutherland in a recording studio and Cole has become a successful producer. Unfortunately, none of the music he has produced is as good as his own solo work.
95. Kid Rock- Devil without a Cause (1998)
96. George Michael- Listen without Prejudice (1990)
97. PM Dawn- Of the Heart, Of the Soul and Of the Cross: The Utopian Experience (1991)
98. De La Soul- Three Feet High and Rising
99. Daft Punk (2001)

In 1998, out of nowhere came a White trash cat from Michigan, who was equal parts Hank Jr., Grandmaster Flash, and Diamond David Lee Roth. Sure the guy was cribbing from everyone and every style, but who says this isn’t as legit as Beck’s collages. I have no idea what “Bawitdaba” was about, but it rocked hard. His subsequent follow-ups were progressively worse, but “Devil Without a Cause” made Bob Ritchie a star and gave him a chance to rest his head on Pam Anderson’s 38DD saline feedbags. “Now get in the pit and try to love someone!”
While not the sales success of “Faith”, George Micheal’s follow-up, was a mature record, with only the great dance tune “Freedom 90” (one of the best video’s of all-time), being Faith-like in style. Unfortunately, this was Micheal’s last good release.
Despite being classified as rappers, PM Dawn was too musical to fit that narrow of a classification. The Cordes Brothers biggest influences seemed to be Prince, The Beatles, and The Beach Boys. “Set Adrift on Memory Bliss”, with its Spandau Ballet’s samples still sounds fresh. Later PM Dawn release, “Jesus Wept” is also worth checking out.
Unlike PM Dawn, De La Soul’s music has not held up as well. When “Three Feet High and Rising” came out, it was the freshest rap album I had ever heard, with a blend of stoner-like raps, with Steely Dan and Hall and Oates samples. I still think the album is good and I appreciate its influence, so it just makes my Top 100.
Remember when Techno was going to take over the world? So how is that 2 guys from France (Daft Punk) would make my list? I answer it’s the hook heavy sounds, which make them sound like a modern day ELO, with disco flourishes. 70’s K-tel meets techno.

100. Liz Phair- Exile in Guyville (1993)/ Liz Phair (2003)

Another record that hasn’t held up as well is Liz Phair’s “Exile in Guyville.” I still love the attitude and the lyrics, but the lo-fi recording is not aging as well. If I were to be honest, I would admit that 9 out of 10 times, I would reach for Phair’s self-titled latest, over her debut. If you didn’t look at a lyric sheet, you would wonder if it’s the same person, as her 2003 release has a pop sheen, which is quite overwhelming. On repeated listens, it hypnotically makes you either love or hate it. Put me in the former category. “Little Digger” is a beautiful song, with a great story of what it’s like for a young child to deal with divorced parents’ dating life. Considering that 10 years ago, “Exile in Guyville would have been in my Top 20, I’m going to put 2 Phair recordings tied for 100.

NOTE: If you’ve made it this far, thanks for indulging me. Please feel free to put your lists in the comment section and begin to slam me or pat me on the back now.
-Scott-

39 thoughts on “Top 20 Albums of the Juice Generation

  1. 1.  My 2 favorite discs of all time are Achtung and The Bends. Didn’t care for OK Computer and Kid A, but The Bends was truly phenomenal. Nice to see Tim up that high and I personally think American Idiot is a top 10.

    I guess my top 20 would have to include which yours doesn’t: August and Everything After (Counting Crows), The Marshall Mathers LP (Eminem), New Miserable Experience (Gin Blossoms), Throwing Copper (Live), and maybe Smiths Best Part II but that probably doesn’t count.

    Can’t say I’d include Prince, Matthew Sweet, or George Michael… but that’s what makes music so personal.

  2. 2.  Three albums not named above that induced life-altering shifts in my worldview:

    Green Day: “Dookie” — I heard “Basket Case” in 7th grade and got hooked on modern rock. I thank God every other day that I didn’t get hooked on, say, Ace of Bass.

    Dr. Dre: “Chronic 2001” — Built my faith in rap music as something more than machismo and Puffy-esque oversampling. I could listen to just the instrumental tracks and be satisfied.

    Ryan Adams: “Heartbreaker” — If you’ve given up on country music, you probably haven’t listened to Ryan Adams. His album “Gold” sold more copies, and has some great individual songs (“New York New York”, “Firecracker”), but it’s very long and doesn’t pack quite the same punch as his first solo effort. Those of you with, for lack of a better descriptor, more Radiohead tendencies may prefer his double-EP “Love Is Hell”.

    –David

  3. 3.  I’d have to say that while Spin had some good choices, they had some predictable choices as well.

    I’d say my current top 20 from that era in no particular order (that I own, and rap isn’t up my alley all the way so I’m missing out a bit..):

    Dry – PJ Harvey
    New Day Rising – Husker Du
    Flip Your Wig – Husker Du
    Time’s Up – Living Colour
    Nevermind – Nirvana
    Exile in Guyville – Liz Phair
    Daydream Nation – Sonic Youth
    Doolittle – Pixies
    Frosting on the Beater – Posies
    Girlfriend – Matthew Sweet
    No Pocky For Kitty – Superchunk
    In the Land of Salvation and Sin – Georgia Satellites
    Ragged Glory – Neil Young
    The Yellow Shark – Frank Zappa
    Anodyne – Uncle Tupelo
    Tim – The Replacements
    Smile – Brian Wilson
    Badmotorfinger – Soundgarden
    Life’s Rich Pageant – REM
    Paul’s Boutique – Beastie Boys

    Also – wanted to mention Who’s Got the 10 1/2 by Black Flag and Terminal Tower by Pere Ubu. As a live record and a comp – they probably don’t fit.

  4. 4.  Many of what you 3 have mentioned, will appear later. I’m most impressed when someone puts on their list something that normally wouldn’t be thought of becauze it’s not “cool” enough or too commercial. (Gin Blossoms or Georgia Satellites.) I actually considered both, but a they would be somewhere in the 125-150 area.

    I just don’t consider Smile a recent release, as Wilson wrote it in the 60’s, finally releasing after some modern tweaks in the past year.

  5. 5.  Scott –

    The Beach Boys version is unreleased – this is the Brian Wilson version, so I consider it different interpretations of the same animal.

    So if you want, remove that and add Neko Case’s Blacklisted album.

  6. 6.  The lists I’ve seen are both predictable and good (perhaps predictable because the consensus is so overwhelming in favor of these records?).

    My personal list would include:
    Car Wheels on a Gravel Road AND Lucinda Williams (sort of semi-obvious choices also)
    My Life – Iris Dement (tres uncool choice, I’m sure, but I don’t care).
    I would love to put some Prine on here, but I think the ones that belong just miss the 20 year cut.

    I really think I can’t be alone in saying that my “#1 album” might be 7 different things on seven different days. But Tim is hard to top for me. I think it may not be as awesome overall as the one right they put out before it (sheesh the name escapes me right now) but it was a great marriage of the rough Replacements, the pop sensibilities that Westerberg always owned but sometimes muted, and the gold-hearted persona he also owned but which would tend to overwhelm his later work with a bit of uber-pomposity.

  7. 7.  Couldn’t agree more with your thoughts re: Pavement. After “Here,” Slanted & Enchanted doesn’t have any songs that bring me back for a second listen, whereas Crooked Rain has a bunch – “Gold Soundz” and “Range Life” being my faves. I think it has something to do with critics always favoring an artist’s debut – as if the thrill of something new outshines the artist’s growth. I’ve always noticed that about Uncle Tupelo: their debut makes the lists even though it’s their worst record (save Smed’s list above).

  8. 8.  and some of mine for the past 25 years…

    oasis – morning glory (better than the first!)
    smiths – queen is dead
    leah andreone – veiled (nothing like the first two. san diego pop woman, should have sold zillions with this. the second album was awful)
    rem – lifes rich pageant. or aftp.
    stone roses debut. i still listen to it a fair amount. charlatans some friendly as well…
    run dmc – king of rock
    franz ferdinand.
    echobelly – everybody’s got one.
    bon jovi – slippery when wet or new jersey.
    john mellencamp – scarecrow.
    artful dodger – all about the stragglers
    supperheads – northernplaylistic (finnish pop group that went vocoder happy)
    barenaked ladies – gordon.
    moby – 18
    ben folds five – debut
    space monkeys – daddy of them all
    pet shop boys – very
    meat loaf – either of his bat albums.

    and i realize that ‘my’ tastes aren’t everyone else’s…that’s why on lists like these, it’s unfair to say “how can you put Y in there?” – because you’ll have someone else criticizing that the album wasn’t high enough.

    i still have my wham final! on cd…

  9. 9.  and some of mine for the past 25 years…

    oasis – morning glory (better than the first!)
    smiths – queen is dead
    leah andreone – veiled (nothing like the first two. san diego pop woman, should have sold zillions with this. the second album was awful)
    rem – lifes rich pageant. or aftp.
    stone roses debut. i still listen to it a fair amount. charlatans some friendly as well…
    run dmc – king of rock
    franz ferdinand.
    echobelly – everybody’s got one.
    bon jovi – slippery when wet or new jersey.
    john mellencamp – scarecrow.
    artful dodger – all about the stragglers
    supperheads – northernplaylistic (finnish pop group that went vocoder happy)
    barenaked ladies – gordon.
    moby – 18
    ben folds five – debut
    space monkeys – daddy of them all
    pet shop boys – very
    meat loaf – either of his bat albums.

    and i realize that ‘my’ tastes aren’t everyone else’s…that’s why on lists like these, it’s unfair to say “how can you put Y in there?” – because you’ll have someone else criticizing that the album wasn’t high enough.

    i still have my wham final! on cd…

  10. 10.  Ok, metal was influential as well people! Megadeth – RIP
    Selloutica – Black Album
    Pantera – Cowboys from Hell
    Bon Jovi – Slippery
    Others should include Phil Collins, Red hot Chilli Peppers, Jewel, Alanis M, etc

  11. 11.  A handful more I haven’t seem mentioned…

    Dead Kennedys “Give Me Convinience Or Give Me Death” (1987) – More of a compilation than an album, but it’s their best release.

    New Order “Substance” (1987) – See above. Never owned this until years later, but I didn’t have to since every high shool class mate had it and played it incessantly.

    Beastie Boys “Paul’s Boutique” (1989) – Who thought they had this in them after “License To Ill”?

    My Bloody Valentine “Loveless” (1990) – “Isn’t Anything” is criminally overlooked, and was arguably just as influential, but this has held up better.

    Ride “Going Blank Again” (1992) – Best release from the best of the MBV-influenced (though Catherine Wheel’s “Ferment” is close).

    Sugar “Copper Blue” (1992) – “Zen Arcade” came a year too early for this list, so it’s got to be Mould’s K-TEL album.

    Yo La Tengo “May I Sing With Me” (1992) – Never understood why this album wasn’t held in higher regard.

    (considering the previous three, as well as Catherine Wheel’s “Ferment” and the Lemonheads “It’s A Shame About Ray”, 1992 was a great year)

    Guided By Voices “Alien Lanes” (1995) – “Bee Thousand” usually gets the nod, but I prefer the uneven quality of this a lot better. Besides, it’s got their best album open, their best album closer, and half the tracks could make GBV’s greatest hits album.

    Neutral Milk Hotel “In The Aeroplane Over The Sea” (1998) – Standard indie hipster street cred. vote, and I can never blame anyone for saying they hate it, but it still sounds great everytime I throw it on.

    The Magnetic Fields “69 Love Songs” (1999) – Greatest piece of music ever recorded.

    The Weakerthans “Fallow” (1999) – My first thought upon hearing this was “I’ll bet even the guys from Haircut 100 could kick this guy’s ass”, yet I still like it. A lot.

    The Wrens “The Meadowlands” (2003) – Kind of all over the place, but it works. Ten years of frustrations seeps and occasionally expodes from this albums, but somehow doesn’t alienate the listener, and always ends remarkably hopeful.

  12. 12.  Oh, and one other…

    The La’s “The La’s” (1990) – Here’s hoping they schedule a few reunion dates outside the U.K.

  13. 13.  Good list. Obviously your list doesn’t match my list exactly, and I’m a bit younger than you, but when I read this list, my first thoguht was that I wanted to listen to the albums (again or for the first time). Definitely a good list.

  14. 14.  Scott,

    Like the List!! I’d move Elephant towards the top and I like Wilco’s a Ghost is Born a hell of a lot. I’m probably one of the older posters here so I like seing some of the older stuff mentioned: Matthew Sweet, Copper Blue, the Posies, etc.

    I’d add a few of my personal favorites:

    Screaming Trees–Buzz Factory. If I could play guitar, that is what I’d want to sound like.

    Teenage Fanclub–Songs From Northern Britain. Justa great album.

    Ministry–the Land of Rape and Honey…distilled anger (or poser?? you decide).

    I liked Pretty Hate Machine more than the Downward Spiral.

    Finally, my version of your Wham! selection: Depeche Mode’s 101…love that sad, mopey shit.

  15. 15.  My 20 for today; tomorrow all would be different but here it is in this never-ending now…..

    1. The Stone Roses
    2. Built to Spill, Perfect From Now On
    3. Yo La Tengo, Painful
    4. Lloyd Cole, Music in a Foreign Language
    5. Idlewild, 100 Broken Windows
    6. Massive Attack, Mezzanine
    7. The Replacements, Tim
    8. Afghan Whigs, Gentlemen
    9. Squirrel Bait, Skag Heaven
    10. American Music Club, Mercury
    11. At the Drive-In, Relationship of Command
    12. The Libertines, Up the Bracket
    13. That Petrol Emotion, Babble
    14. New Order, Technique
    15. Public Enemy, Fear of a Black Planet
    16. The Smiths, Meat Is Murder
    17. Sparklehorse, It’s a Wonderful Life
    18. Suede
    19. The The, Mind Bomb
    20. Chameleons, Strange Times

  16. 16.  The Bends – YES!!! Definately top 5 for me, somewhere between 2 and 4 but would have to really think about it. Pearl Jam’s Ten, Stone Temple Pilots’ Purple, DMB’s Crash and Blind Melon’s self titled first release would probably round out my top 5.

    Others that are up there (I know I am going to miss a few):

    – Blind Melon – Soup
    – Counting Crows – August and Everything After (just misses the top 5 – makes the “Super 6”) and Recovering the Satellites
    – DMB – Under the Table and Dreaming
    – Guns n Roses – Use Your Illusion I (this album is loaded) and Appetite for Destruction (classic)
    – Gin Blossoms – New Miserable Experience (Don’t know why but summer after summer I find myself loving this album especially in my car on a nice day)
    – Green Day – American Idiot (kept growing on me)
    – moe – No Doy (fun disc)
    – Offspring – Ignition (this never gets old for me)
    – Pearl Jam – Vs.
    – Radiohead – OK Computer
    – Smashing Pumpkins – Gish (great, great, great!)
    – Urge Overkill – Saturation

    -John

  17. 17.  Congrats Stevegoz, you have the coolest list ever, but I personally resent that you have nothing on it which has ever been heard by anyone but hipsters. Come on, where’s the guilty pleasure?
    (By the way, I’ve heard all of your choices and I like most of what you have listed, though only 3 are in my top 100. AMC’s “Mercury” is just outside the 100 and I recommend others to check it out.)

  18. 19.  As a guy who was running a Matthew Sweet fan site back when tables and images were hot new things on the Web, I’m happy to see “Girlfriend” get some recognition here. Amazing album, and the first one I really felt I “owned” as a serious music fan.

    A few discs I haven’t seen listed that would at least make my top 20:

    – M.Ward “Transfiguration of Vincent” – Beautiful, mainly acoustic, folk album played by a guy with classical-guitar-level chops. Includes amazing cover of Bowie’s “Let’s Dance.” Ward’s the frontrunner in my “Most Talented Musician of my Generation” race, and I don’t say that lightly.

    – Jeff Buckley “Grace” – If I have to explain it…

    – Spoon “Girls Can Tell” – Not terribly influential, but there isn’t a song I’d skip on this disc or on “A Series of Sneaks.”

  19. 20.  Twenty years among the hipsters has made me who I am. Honestly, my guilty pleasures don’t run to album length, just singles. And even they are few and far between.

    That said, I believe 17 of my 20 came out on major labels (all but YLT, Lloyd Cole, and Squirrel Bait).

  20. 21.  Scott, thanks for the list. There’s a lot on there I haven’t heard and need to check out. (I think it’s safe to consider me a mainstream consumer as opposed to a hipster.)

    I was surprised to see the inclusion of REM AftP and George Michael’s Faith. I have both of these-so it was a pleasant surprise. I actually enjoy GM’s Listen Without Prejudice more than Faith, but I agree that it’s the latter that should qualify for this list.

    NIN-Downward Spiral is definitely the one to include. PHM is more catchy, but not nearly as strong of an album overall.

    I’d like to pimp something from Dream Theater, but there’s nothing really groundbreaking about them other than perhaps their lyrics. Scenes From a Memory is a good concept album, but that’s not enough to make this list.

    Someone mentioned Metallica earlier, but I don’t agree that Black Album should be the choice. While I enjoy Master of Puppets the most, And Justice For All would be the album I nominate for a list of this kind. The music video to “One” created a lot of buzz at the time of its release. I remember a roommate telling me, “I finally understand why you have to have long hair to properly headbang.”

    Finally, I was trying to think of something from Peter Gabriel for inclusion, but his recent stuff isn’t strong enough over an entire album. His groundbreaking and influential music is pre-1985. (Doesn’t mean he’s still not one of my favorites, of course.)

  21. 22.  Never, never, never have I felt so old as when reading this thread….

    Some from this corner of the non-trendy-world:

    Radiohead – Kid A (yes it’s better, but you knew I’d say that.)
    Outkast – The Love Below
    Paul Simon – Graceland (Shame, shame, shame on all of you for not listing this, except you Johnny Clegg and Savuka fans.)
    Roxy Music – Avalon (OK now I’m getting mad.)
    Steve Winwood – Back in the High Life
    Warren Zevon – Mr. Bad Example, The Wind
    Bruce Springsteen (remember me) – Tunnel of Love (by far and away his most underrated.)
    Lucinda Williams – self-titled
    10,000 Maniacs – In My Tribe (nothing says college radio more to me, scott. well ok behind the replacements.)
    Bonnie Raitt – Nick of Time (Hello people!)
    Chris Whitley – Living with the Law (just to prove my obscureness)
    NWA – Straight Outta Compton (I’m no rap aficionado but just on influence alone it has to be in the Top 100)
    Dire Straits – Brothers in Arms (all right, maybe not Top 100, but its timliness to today’s world is eerily prescient and its surely better than some of this other garbage.)
    Rolling Stones – Voodoo Lounge (hell a much better CD than…Rage Against the Who?)

    And these are the ones I can just think of right now…

    Ok now the ones I agree with listed elsewhere (in no particular order):

    Liz Phair – Exile in Guyville
    Brian Wilson – Smile
    Guns N Roses – AFD
    Prince – Sign O Times
    U2 – Joshua Tree, Achtung Baby
    Matthew Sweet – Great pull, Scott.
    Public Enemy – Fear of Black Planet
    Replacements – Tim
    Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
    REM – AFP
    Radiohead – The Bends, OKC, still better than 95% of everything else made.
    Nirvana – Nevermind

    All right that’s enough for now. I’ll add more later to Scott’s other posts. BTW, Scott you might want to edit the first sentence, it says 1885.

  22. 23.  By the way, off subject, but since the iPod I’ve listened to Apetite for Destruction and Van Halen – Van Halen back-to-back several times….and it isn’t even close – – Van Halen is a better CD by leaps and bounds.

    (I’m your Ice Cream Man/stop me when I’m passing by) – – – classic.

    Also…jeez does this blog sku young. Egads.

    Hey Todd S good to see you. How could I have forgotten Peter Gabriel’s – – So (from your less “ground-breaking period”)?

  23. 24.  I’m pretty sure Avalon actually misses the 20 year cutoff, but man, isn’t that song one of the prettiest you’ve ever heard? Great album as well.

  24. 25.  TFD,

    Good point about So. I was thinking it was pre-1985 but I was wrong (1986). For the videos alone, you could make an argument for it. (Does anyone else remember when watching the newest videos on MTV was a BIG thing in music-or am I just dreaming?)

    Good catch on Graceland as well. I’ll have to fire that one up this week… (while I think about Chevy Chase, of course)

  25. 26.  Dire Straits: Brothers In Arms reminds me of something else, too-while I’m dating myself. It was one of the only CDs in my collection that was rated “DDD” back when CDs first appeared with that grading system. Most were the lowest quality “AAD.” The only in-between one I remember was a Rush CD…Hold Your Fire, I think. Ahh, the halcyon days of youth…

  26. 27.  Some great comments listed here. A lot of artists mentioned will appear in my next list (21-50), I’m posting tomorrow. I have Graceland right outside my Top 100, as I like some of it, but am not a big world music fan.

    Todd- I do remember about how Dire Straits releases had superior sound quality.

  27. 28.  blah..

    I stand corrected, you’re right Avalon was released in 1982. For some reason I thought it was 85, but alas, my memory it not what it should be.

    let it be stricken.

  28. 29.  TFD –

    I’d argue that the high points of Appetite are higher than the original Van Halen – actually I prefere “Fair Warning” over the self-titled Van Halen record.

    Mr. Brownstone itself kicks anything on that albums tushie.

    I also thought Brothers In Arms was lame compared to Love Over Gold, Making Movies, or the self-titled record – heck, none of the songs on it were as good as “Lady Writer”.

    Graceland was OK – I’ve never bought it on CD so that tells you how much I listened to it on vinyl.

  29. 30.  I can’t believe that no one has mentioned Operation Ivy’s “Energy” yet. I remember hearing that album in like, 1994, and it just completely blew my mind. And it still does. “Take Warning”, “Sound System”, “Unity”, “Bad Town” . . . it seems like every other track is a classic.

  30. 31.  Okay, in no particular order, and containing a vast swath of omissions:

    OpIvy, “Energy” — The title is totally appropriate; a blitz of pure of punk power. Unfortunately, this is one of those albums that, for all its greatness, wrought much evil on the musical landscape. (Without OpIvy, we never would have had that vomit-inducing skacore revival back in the 90s).

    My Bloody Valentine, “Isn’t Anything” — Loud, ugly, nasty, and utterly captivating.

    Mos Def, “Black on Both Sides” — Before Mos decided to be professionally famous, he put out one of the classics of late-period East Coast Hip Hop. Mos’ wordplay and percussive delivery were astonishing. Too bad he doesn’t make music anymore.

    A Tribe Called Quest, “The Low-End Theory” — The album that convinced me that rap might be worthwhile. Malik & Abstract tag-teaming at their best, Malik playing the impish comedian to Abstract’s serious-minded beat poet.

    Aphex Twin, “Selected Ambient Works, 85-92” — Maybe the greatest album ever, period. On it, Aphex invented many tricks that later became entire genres of electronic music unto themselves; alternately achingly beautiful, darkly threatening and contagiously tuneful.

    Everything but the Girl, “Temperamental” — Pop goes house. I can’t get over Tracey Thorne’s voice.

    Deltron Zero, “DELTRON 3030” — Del is one of modern music’s great eccentrics, and here he is at his booming, bizarre best, assisted by Dan the Automator.

    Massive Attack, “Protection” & “Mezzanine” — I think these guys had some kind of pact with the Devil. In exchange for their souls, Satan told them how to channel cool.

    The Mountain Goats, “We Shall All be Healed” — Hyperliterary singer-songwriter John Darnielle at his best; his many devotees would probably put up one of his earlier albums for consideration, but I like this one because a lot of it is about Portland, my hometown.

    Palace Brothers, “Days in the Wake” — Will Oldham couldn’t sing his way out of a paper bag, but he writes weird, sad little songs, and they’re best experienced in the raw, stripped-down setting found here.

    Taller than Todd, “Behind Enemy Lines” — Okay, this is a blatant plug for my friend Todd, but I really like it anyway.

    Camper van Beethoven, “Key Lime Pie” — Part-ska, part-altrock, part-bizarro-raga, frequently hilarious. “When I Win the Lottery” is worth the price of admission by itself.

    DJ Shadow, “Entroducing . . .” — The volcano from which all subsequent DJ albums erupt. The Coltrane of the tables.

    Yo la Tengo, “and then nothing turned itself inside out . . .” — Quiet, sad, and touching.

    REM, “Automatic for the People” & U2, “Achtung Baby” — Forever linked in my mind, for whatever reason. Nothing new to add, other than that.

    Boards of Canada, “Music has the Right to Children” — I’ve never heard anything quite like it; dense and endlessly rewarding IDM decorated with a smattering of samples from old public service films. You could spend years unpacking it.

    Belle & Sebastian, “If You’re Feeling Sinister” — Yay! Deceptively upbeat geek-pop that was the original inspiration for the term “sad bastard music”.

    Is that 20? I dunno. This post is too long already.

  31. 32.  A couple others that I’d add:

    Material Issue—International Pop Overthrow, first three songs with a girl’s name in the title and ends up with lil’ Christine…you can hear the Cheap Trick throughout.

    Die Warzau—Engine…One of WaxTrax’s last hurrahs…a ‘Desert Island disc’ for me.

    The Sidewinder’s Witchdoctor was a nice album…their Neil Diamond cover (Solitary Man) competes with the Urge Overkill tune in Pulp Fiction.

    TFD, so you’re old?? When did you graduate??

    I still contend that Guns and Roses AFD is the most over-rated album ever…doesn’t mean it’s bad, it’s just not as good as it’s made out to be.

  32. 33.  So what we are learning, but probably already knew, is that there are, oh, about 200 albums, if not more, worthy of being on any given top 20 list.

  33. 35.  chris: old, very old. you’ve been reading long enough. the clues are all there.

    how many expecting on Friday night?

  34. 36.  TFD,

    We’ll get somewhere between 600-800 that night….I expect to sell over 2000 by Sunday night. I’ll be damn glad when it’s over, at this point I’m just trying not to piss anyone off.

  35. 37.  A few more things:

    First, stevegoz—Mindbomb is just a great pick, in fact, I’m listening to ‘Gravitate to Me’ right now…it has to be in my top 50 songs of all-time.

    Second, Scott—‘Until the End of the World’—Best…U2…song…ever.

    I guess I’ll list my top 20 ( In no particular order):

    21. Sonic Youth: Daydream Nation.
    20. Bob Mould: Workbook.
    19. the Church: Preist=Aura
    18. the Connells: Boylan Heights
    17. Dreams so Real: Rough Night in Jerico
    16. Depeche Mode: Violater
    15. The Cure: Disintegration.
    14. Wilco: A ghost is Born
    13. Flaming Lips: Yoshimi…
    12. White Stripes: Elephant
    11. Die Warzau: Engine.
    10. Firehose: If’n.
    9. Nirvana: Nevermind.
    8. Screaming Trees: Buzz Factory.
    7. Alice in Chains: Dirt.
    6. Gov’t Mule: self-titled
    5. Mazzy Star: She Hangs Brightly.
    4. Neil Young: Harvest Moon.
    3. REM: any of the following: Fables, Life’s Rich Pageant, AFTP, Green, Document or Out of Time…doesn’t matter.
    2. Radiohead: OK Computer.
    1. Red Hot Chili Peppers: Mother’s Milk.

    I wanted desperately to get a Peter Murphy on my list, but I just couldn’t.

  36. 38.  Never heard anything about Dream So Real. Checked out some info on them and they sound right up my alley. Chris, send me an email, as I have a question for you. (i’ve misplaced your address)

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