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The Empire Top 100 Albums 2011: THE RESULTS

 
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The Empire Top 100 Albums 2011: THE RESULTS - 31/3/2011 1:35:50 AM   
Olaf


Posts: 23709
Joined: 26/2/2007
From: 41°N 93°W
After days* of counting, recounting* and careful consideration*, the results are in for this year's album poll. I'll be putting them up in chunks of 25 with the top ten individually. (No posts until the list is up in full please.)

< Message edited by Olaf -- 1/4/2011 12:06:12 AM >


_____________________________

I tried to groan, Help! Help! But the tone that came out was that of polite conversation.

Empire Top 100 Albums Poll 2013: CLICK HERE
Post #: 1
RE: The EmpireOnline Top 100 Albums 2011: THE RESULTS - 31/3/2011 1:36:09 AM   
Olaf


Posts: 23709
Joined: 26/2/2007
From: 41°N 93°W
100) Neil Young - After The Gold Rush (1970)
99) The Smiths - The Smiths (1984)
98) Pavement - Slanted And Enchanted (1992)
97) Aphex Twin - Selected Ambient Works Vol. II (1994)
96) Nick Drake - Pink Moon (1972)

95) Pink Floyd - The Wall (1979)
94) Clint Mansell - The Fountain (2006)
93) Bruce Springsteen - Born In The U.S.A. (1984)
92) Tom Waits - Bone Machine (1992)
91) Nine Inch Nails - The Downward Spiral (1994)

90) LCD Soundsystem - Sound of Silver (2007)
89) Scott Walker - Scott 4 (1969)
88) The Pogues - Rum Sodomy & The Lash (1985)
87) Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Let Love In (1994)
86) Metallica - Ride The Lightning (1984)

85) Interpol - Turn On The Bright Lights (2002)
84) Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago (2007)
83) The Prodigy - The Fat Of The Land (1997)
82) The Black Keys - Attack & Release (2008)
81) Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not (2006)

80) Blur - Modern Life Is Rubbish (1993)
79) Arcade Fire - Neon Bible (2007)
78) Rage Against The Machine - Rage Against The Machine (1992)
77) Kraftwerk - The Man-Machine (1978)
76) Tom Waits - Blue Valentine (1978)

75) The Beatles - Abbey Road (1969)
74) Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002)
73) Primal Scream - Screamadelica (1991)
72) Regina Spektor - Soviet Kitsch (2004)
71) Bruce Springsteen - Darkness On The Edge Of Town (1978)

70) Michael Jackson - Thriller (1982)
69) Daft Punk - Homework (1997)
68) Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here (1975)
67) The White Stripes - White Blood Cells (2001)
66) Opeth - Ghost Reveries (2005)

65) Spiritualized - Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space (1997)
64) Deftones - White Pony (2000)
63) Pearl Jam - Vs. (1993)
62) The Beatles - Rubber Soul (1965)
61) Paul Simon - Graceland (1986)

60) Miles Davis - Kind Of Blue (1959)
59) Weezer - Pinkerton (1996)
58) Blur - Parklife (1994)
57) Nick Drake - Five Leaves Left (1969)
56) The Prodigy - Music For The Jilted Generation (1994)

55) Modest Mouse - Good News For People Who Love Bad News (2004)
54) Tom Waits - Alice (2002)
53) The Decemberists - The Decemberists Present... Picaresque (2005)
52) Suede - Dog Man Star (1995)
51) David Bowie - Hunky Dory (1971)

50) The Rolling Stones - Exile On Main St. (1972)
49) The Clash - London Calling (1979)
48) The White Stripes - Elephant (2003)
47) The Smashing Pumpkins - Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness (1995)
46) Oasis - Definitely Maybe (1994)

45) Muse - Origin of Symmetry (2001)
44) Regina Spektor - Begin To Hope (2006)
43) Bruce Springsteen - The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle (1973)
42) Jeff Buckley - Grace (1994)
41) U2 - The Joshua Tree (1987)

40) Boards Of Canada - Music Has The Right To Children (1998)
39) Oasis - (What's The Story) Morning Glory? (1995)
38) The Long Blondes - Someone To Drive You Home (2006)
37) Led Zeppelin - IV (1971)
36) Pearl Jam - Ten (1991)

35) The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)
34) The Velvet Underground - The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967)
33) R.E.M. - Automatic For The People (1992)
32) Pink Floyd - The Dark Side Of The Moon (1973)
31) Joy Division - Closer (1980)

30) Tom Waits - Rain Dogs (1985)
29) Kate Bush - Hounds of Love (1985)
28) Van Morrison - Astral Weeks (1968)
27) Neutral Milk Hotel - In The Aeroplane Over The Sea (1998)
26) Radiohead - In Rainbows (2007)

25) Bruce Springsteen - Nebraska (1982)
24) Guns N Roses - Appetite For Destruction (1987)
23) Arcade Fire - The Suburbs (2010)
22) The Smiths - The Queen Is Dead (1986)
21) Daft Punk - Discovery (2001)

20) Joy Division - Unknown Pleasures (1979)
19) Pulp - Different Class (1995)
18) Manic Street Preachers - The Holy Bible (1994)
17) Pixies - Doolittle (1989)
16) Bob Dylan - Blonde On Blonde (1966)

15) The Smiths - Strangeways, Here We Come (1987)
14) The Strokes - Is This It (2001)
13) The Stone Roses - The Stone Roses (1989)
12) Bruce Springsteen - Born To Run (1975)
11) Bob Dylan - Blood On The Tracks (1975)

10) Nirvana - Nevermind (1991)
09) My Bloody Valentine - Loveless (1991)
08) Bob Dylan - Highway 61 Revisited (1965)
07) David Bowie - The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars (1972)
06) The Beatles - Revolver (1966)
05) The Beatles - The Beatles/The White Album (1968)
04) Radiohead - Kid A (2000)
03) Radiohead - OK Computer (1997)
02) Radiohead - The Bends (1995)
01) Arcade Fire - Funeral (2004)

< Message edited by Olaf -- 8/10/2011 9:32:06 PM >


_____________________________

I tried to groan, Help! Help! But the tone that came out was that of polite conversation.

Empire Top 100 Albums Poll 2013: CLICK HERE

(in reply to Olaf)
Post #: 2
RE: The EmpireOnline Top 100 Albums 2011: THE RESULTS - 31/3/2011 1:44:12 AM   
Olaf


Posts: 23709
Joined: 26/2/2007
From: 41°N 93°W

100// Neil Young After The Gold Rush (1970)
Third studio album from he of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (but not Crosby, Stills & Nash) fame, boasting probably the best first side of the man's career. Rolling Stone called it 'half-baked' on release, so you know it's good. ('Tell Me Why'.)


99// The Smiths The Smiths (1984)
Moz and co's debut record sidesteps accusations of being miserable with numbers about child abuse, the Moors murders and sexual frustration. Jon Porter's murky production can't obscure a band on top lyrical and musical form however. ('This Charming Man'.)


98// Pavement Slanted And Enchanted (1992)
Best band ever? Pretty much. They never topped the blissful fusion of melody and noise at the heart of their debut record, though. ('Here'.)


97// Aphex Twin Selected Ambient Works, Vol. II (1994)
RDJ channels Eno over 2.5 hours and two discs of spectral ambience. Self-indulgent? Yes. Brilliant? Yes. ('Rhubarb'.)


96// Nick Drake Pink Moon (1972)
Third and final album from Britain's greatest folk singer-songwriter. Gone is the string-laden production of the previous two albums, leaving just guitar and voice. ('From The Morning'.)


< Message edited by Olaf -- 31/3/2011 7:20:31 PM >

(in reply to Olaf)
Post #: 3
RE: The EmpireOnline Top 100 Albums 2011: THE RESULTS - 31/3/2011 1:50:35 AM   
Olaf


Posts: 23709
Joined: 26/2/2007
From: 41°N 93°W

95// Pink Floyd The Wall (1979)
Every fifteen-year old boy's favourite Floyd album. Nonetheless the defining record of Roger Waters's career, and the moment Dave Gilmour become a fully-fledged guitar hero ('Comfortably Numb'.)


94// Clint Mansell The Fountain (2006)
Clint 'he was in Pop Will Itself, you know' Mansell's score for Darren Aronofsky's sprawling, ambitious epic is... er, sprawling, ambitious and epic. ('Death Is The Road To Awe'.)


93// Bruce Springsteen Born In The U.S.A. (1984)
Ronald Reagan's favourite Boss album is surprisingly dark behind the shiny synths and grandiose sentiment. ('Dancing In The Dark'.)


92// Tom Waits Bone Machine (1992)
Tom Waits' apocalyptic thirteenth album is considered by many to be his finest work. Listening to it, it's difficult to disagree. ('Earth Died Screaming'.)


91// Nine Inch Nails The Downward Spiral (1994)
You lot like your concept albums. Oscar-winner Trent Reznor's magnum opus is oppressive, unremittingly bleak and really rather brilliant. ('Closer'.)


< Message edited by Olaf -- 31/3/2011 7:20:20 PM >

(in reply to Olaf)
Post #: 4
RE: The EmpireOnline Top 100 Albums 2011: THE RESULTS - 31/3/2011 1:55:54 AM   
Olaf


Posts: 23709
Joined: 26/2/2007
From: 41°N 93°W

90// LCD Soundsystem Sound Of Silver (2007)
James Murphy's dancey, funky dance-funk collective went from hipster injoke with great songs to properly life-changing with their second record. The secret ingredient is heart. ('All My Friends'.)


89// Scott Walker Scott 4 (1969)
Pop star and household favourite Scott Walker records album about Bergman movies, Stalin and existential horror. It's not successful surprisingly, but has since rightfully taken its place as baroque art-rock par excellence. ('On Your Own Again'.)


88// The Pogues Rum Sodomy & The Lash (1985)
The cover says it all, really - grotty, dirty, wasted elegance that cements Shane MacGowan's place as one of the finest songwriters of his generation. ('The Old Main Drag'.)


87// Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds Let Love In (1994)
One of the Bad Seeds' most enduring albums, Let Love In demonstrates that you can be sexy and scary in equal measure. I'm not referring to the album sleeve, honest. ('Lay Me Low'.)


86// Metallica Ride The Lightning (1984)
Metallica expand on the speed-metal thrash of Kill 'Em All on their second album, demonstrating an ambition and scope that would define their following work. ('For Whom The Bell Tolls'.)


< Message edited by Olaf -- 31/3/2011 7:20:10 PM >

(in reply to Olaf)
Post #: 5
RE: The EmpireOnline Top 100 Albums 2011: THE RESULTS - 31/3/2011 2:00:36 AM   
Olaf


Posts: 23709
Joined: 26/2/2007
From: 41°N 93°W

85// Interpol Turn On The Bright Lights (2002)
The 00s post-punk revival pretty much starts here. Bring your best trenchcoat. ('NYC'.)


84// Bon Iver For Emma, Forever Ago (2008)
If more jilted lovers went and recorded albums this good instead of sitting in one's underwear watching Maury repeats, the world truly would be a better place. ('Skinny Love'.)


83// The Prodigy The Fat of the Land (1997)
Keith, Liam and Maxim say 'ta' to the rave scene and head straight for the top of the charts. ('Breathe'.)


82// The Black Keys Attack & Release (2008)
American blues rock duos have apparently been done before. Despite this, The Black Keys transcend the comparisons with that obscure Detroit band with the help of Danger Mouse's lush production and some great songs. ('I Got Mine'.)


81// Arctic Monkeys Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not (2006)
Alex Turner's minutely detailed observations of modern Britain made the Arctic Monkeys the most essential band of a generation. Still holds up after five(!) years. ('A Certain Romance'.)


< Message edited by Olaf -- 31/3/2011 7:19:52 PM >

(in reply to Olaf)
Post #: 6
RE: The EmpireOnline Top 100 Albums 2011: THE RESULTS - 31/3/2011 2:06:36 AM   
Olaf


Posts: 23709
Joined: 26/2/2007
From: 41°N 93°W

80// Blur Modern Life Is Rubbish (1993)
Distilling every great British band - Kinks, Beatles, Smiths, Clash, etc - into one perfectly formed psych-pop package, MLIR is still probably the best album of Damon Albarn's career. ('Chemical World'.)


79// Arcade Fire Neon Bible (2007)
A mighty, arena-slaying behemoth of a record, Neon Bible was the sound of one of the best bands around becoming one of the biggest bands around. ('Keep The Car Running'.)


78// Rage Against The Machine Rage Against The Machine (1992)
Yes, we can forgive you for being responsible for nu-metal when the songs are this good. ('Killing In The Name'.)


77// Kraftwerk The Man-Machine (1978)
Possibly the quintessential Kraftwerk album. There's a song called 'The Robots', for crying out loud. ('Neon Lights'.)


76// Tom Waits Blue Valentine (1978)
One of the finest records of Waits' pre-Beefheart career, Blue Valentine may not be a revolution in sound but sees our hero expand his lyrical scope with aplomb. ('Christmas Card From A Hooker In Minneapolis'.)


< Message edited by Olaf -- 31/3/2011 7:19:40 PM >

(in reply to Olaf)
Post #: 7
RE: The EmpireOnline Top 100 Albums 2011: THE RESULTS - 31/3/2011 6:38:41 PM   
Olaf


Posts: 23709
Joined: 26/2/2007
From: 41°N 93°W

75// The Beatles Abbey Road (1969)
The last Beatles album to be recorded (although Let It Be was the last to be released), Abbey Road was a fitting swan song for the group, echoing some of the faux-conceptual forms of Sgt. Pepper, but featuring stronger compositions and more rock-oriented ensemble work. Whether Abbey Road is the Beatles' best work is debatable, but it's certainly the most immaculately produced (with the possible exception of Sgt. Pepper) and most tightly constructed.


74// Wilco Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002)
As is the case with many great artists, the evolution of the band can push the music into places that many listeners (and record companies for that matter) may not be comfortable with, but, in the case of Wilco, their growth has steadily led them into more progressive territory. While their songs still maintain the loose intimacy that was apparent on their debut A.M., the music has matured to reveal a complexity that is rare in pop music, yet showcased perfectly on Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.


73// Primal Scream Screamadelica (1991)
There's no overestimating the importance of Screamadelica, the record that brought acid house, techno, and rave culture crashing into the British mainstream -- an impact that rivaled that of Nirvana's Nevermind, the other 1991 release that changed rock. Prior to Screamadelica, Primal Scream were Stonesy classic rock revivalists with a penchant for Detroit rock. They retained those fascinations on Screamadelica -- one listen to the Jimmy Miller-produced, Stephen Stills-rip "Movin' on Up" proves that -- but they burst everything wide open here, turning rock inside out by marrying it to a gleeful rainbow of modern dance textures.


72// Regina Spektor Soviet Kitsch (2004)
Maybe it's just the preponderance of piano in her music, but Regina Spektor sounds more like a traditional singer/songwriter (in the best sense of that phrase) than her anti-folk contemporaries. On Soviet Kitsch, her third album -- and major-label debut -- her sound is more refined than ever before, but there are still plenty of rough edges and unexpected twists and turns.


71// Bruce Springsteen Darkness On The Edge Of Town (1978)
Springsteen's stories were becoming less heroic, but his musical style remained grand -- the sound, and the conviction in his singing, added weight to songs like "Racing in the Street" and the title track, transforming the pathetic into the tragic. But despite the rock & roll fervor, Darkness was no easy listen, and it served notice that Springsteen was already willing to risk his popularity for his principles.

< Message edited by Olaf -- 31/3/2011 7:19:30 PM >

(in reply to Olaf)
Post #: 8
RE: The EmpireOnline Top 100 Albums 2011: THE RESULTS - 31/3/2011 6:52:44 PM   
Olaf


Posts: 23709
Joined: 26/2/2007
From: 41°N 93°W

70// Michael Jackson
Thriller (1982)
Off the Wall was a massive success, spawning four Top Ten hits (two of them number ones), but nothing could have prepared Michael Jackson for Thriller. Nobody could have prepared anybody for the success of Thriller, since the magnitude of its success was simply unimaginable -- an album that sold 40 million copies in its initial chart run, with seven of its nine tracks reaching the Top Ten This was a record that had something for everybody, building on the basic blueprint of Off the Wall by adding harder funk, hard rock, softer ballads, and smoother soul -- expanding the approach to have something for every audience.


69// Daft Punk Homework (1997)
Daft Punk's full-length debut is a funk-house hailstorm, giving real form to a style of straight-ahead dance music not attempted since the early fusion days of on-the-one funk and dance-party disco. Thick, rumbling bass, vocoders, choppy breaks and beats, and a certain brash naiveté permeate the record from start to finish, giving it the edge of an almost certain classic. While a few fall flat, the best tracks make this one essential.


68// Pink Floyd Wish You Were Here (1975)
Pink Floyd followed the commercial breakthrough of Dark Side of the Moon with Wish You Were Here, a loose concept album about and dedicated to their founding member Syd Barrett. The record unfolds gradually, as the jazzy textures of "Shine on You Crazy Diamond" reveal its melodic motif, and in its leisurely pace, the album shows itself to be a warmer record than its predecessor. Musically, it's arguably even more impressive, showcasing the group's interplay and David Gilmour's solos in particular. And while it's short on actual songs, the long, winding soundscapes are constantly enthralling.


67// The White Stripes White Blood Cells (2001)
Few garage rock groups would name one of their most driving numbers "I'm Finding It Harder to Be a Gentleman," and fewer still would pen lyrics like "I'm so tired of acting tough/I'm gonna do what I please/Let's get married," but it's precisely this mix of strength and sweetness, among other contrasts, that makes the White Stripes so intriguing. Likewise, White Blood Cells' ability to surprise old fans and win over new ones makes it the Stripes' finest work.


66// Opeth Ghost Reveries (2005)
Stockholm's most unpredictable metallic sons Opeth have offered another step on their dark journey into the Maelstrom that combines progressive sonics, and acoustic and electric instrumentation, all the while extrapolating on their now-trademark brand of death metal. Stepping aside from the malevolent acoustic elegance of 2003's Damnation without abandoning the textural advances, Ghost Reveries is a tour de force of creativity, power, and innovation.

< Message edited by Olaf -- 31/3/2011 7:19:16 PM >

(in reply to Olaf)
Post #: 9
RE: The EmpireOnline Top 100 Albums 2011: THE RESULTS - 31/3/2011 7:05:31 PM   
Olaf


Posts: 23709
Joined: 26/2/2007
From: 41°N 93°W

65// Spiritualized Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space (1997)
Spiritualized's third collection of hypnotic headphone symphonies is their most brilliant and accessible to date. Largely forsaking the drones and minimalistic, repetitive riffs which have characterized his work since the halcyon days of Spacemen 3, Jason Pierce re-focuses here and spins off into myriad new directions; in a sense, Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space, with its majestic, Spector-like glow, is his classic rock album. The record is a heartfelt confessional of love and loss, with redemption found only in the form of drugs -- designed, no less, to look like a prescription pharmaceutical package, Ladies and Gentlemen is pointedly explicit in its description of drug use as a means of killing the pain on track after track. Conversely, never before have the literal implications of the name "Spiritualized" been explored in such earnest detail -- the London Community Gospel Choir appears prominently on a number of songs, while another bears the title "No God, Only Religion," pushing the music even further toward the kind of cosmic gospel transcendence it craves. A masterpiece.


64// Deftones White Pony (2000)
Hard rockers Deftones take their heavy post-grunge ways to another level on their third album White Pony - Deftones went soft, but in an impressive way, to twist around its signature punk thrash sound. Frontman Chino Moreno is still intense, and his sour vocals throughout the entire record growl and stomp all over mainstream movements. He is bored with it all. It is honest, stripped, and exposed with its flowing guitar riffs and haunting orchestral back drops. There aren't any lackluster similarities to Limp Bizkit and Korn. Deftones have forged ahead, unafraid to delve into the influences of The Smiths and The Cure.


63// Pearl Jam Vs. (1993)
Pearl Jam took to superstardom like deer in headlights. Unsure of how to maintain their rigorous standards of integrity in the face of massive commercial success, the band took refuge in willful obscurity -- the title of their second album, Vs., did not appear anywhere in the packaging, and they refused to release any singles or videos.Vs. is often Eddie Vedder at his most strident, both lyrically and vocally. It's less oblique than Ten in its topicality, and sometimes downright dogmatic; having the world's ear renders Vedder unable to resist a few simplistic potshots at favorite white-liberal targets. Yet a little self-righteousness is an acceptable price to pay for the passionate immediacy that permeates Vs.


62// The Beatles Rubber Soul (1965)
While the Beatles still largely stuck to love songs on Rubber Soul, the lyrics represented a quantum leap in terms of thoughtfulness, maturity, and complex ambiguities. Musically, too, it was a substantial leap forward, with intricate folk-rock arrangements that reflected the increasing influence of Dylan and the Byrds. The group and George Martin were also beginning to expand the conventional instrumental parameters of the rock group, using a sitar on "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)," Greek-like guitar lines on "Michelle" and "Girl," fuzz bass on "Think for Yourself," and a piano made to sound like a harpsichord on the instrumental break of "In My Life."


61// Paul Simon Graceland (1986)
With Graceland, Paul Simon hit on the idea of combining his always perceptive songwriting with the little-heard mbaqanga music of South Africa, creating a fascinating hybrid that re-enchanted his old audience and earned him a new one. It is true that the South African angle (including its controversial aspect during the apartheid days) was a powerful marketing tool and that the catchy music succeeded in presenting listeners with that magical combination: something they'd never heard before that nevertheless sounded familiar. For the most part, Simon abandoned a linear, narrative approach to his words, instead drawing highly poetic ("Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes"), abstract ("The Boy in the Bubble"), and satiric ("I Know What I Know") portraits of modern life, often charged by striking images and turns of phrase torn from the headlines or overheard in contemporary speech. An enormously successful record, Graceland became the standard against which subsequent musical experiments by major artists were measured.

< Message edited by Olaf -- 31/3/2011 7:19:06 PM >

(in reply to Olaf)
Post #: 10
RE: The EmpireOnline Top 100 Albums 2011: THE RESULTS - 31/3/2011 7:17:50 PM   
Olaf


Posts: 23709
Joined: 26/2/2007
From: 41°N 93°W

60// Miles Davis Kind Of Blue (1959)
Kind of Blue isn't merely an artistic highlight for Miles Davis, it's an album that towers above its peers, a record generally considered as the definitive jazz album, a universally acknowledged standard of excellence. Why does Kind of Blue posses such a mystique? Perhaps because this music never flaunts its genius. It lures listeners in with the slow, luxurious bassline and gentle piano chords of "So What." From that moment on, the record never really changes pace -- each tune has a similar relaxed feel, as the music flows easily. Yet Kind of Blue is more than easy listening. It's the pinnacle of modal jazz -- tonality and solos build from the overall key, not chord changes, giving the music a subtly shifting quality. Kind of Blue works on many different levels. It can be played as background music, yet it amply rewards close listening. It is advanced music that is extraordinarily enjoyable. It may be a stretch to say that if you don't like Kind of Blue, you don't like jazz -- but it's hard to imagine it as anything other than a cornerstone of any jazz collection.


59// Weezer Pinkerton (1996)
From the pounding, primal assault of the opening track, "Tired of Sex," it's clear from the outset that Pinkerton is a different record than the sunny, heavy guitar pop of Weezer's eponymous debut. The first noticeable difference is the darker, messier sound -- the guitars rage and squeal, the beats are brutal and visceral, the vocals are mixed to the front, filled with overlapping, off-the-cuff backing vocals. In short, it sounds like the work of a live band, which makes it all the more ironic that Pinkerton, at its core, is a singer/songwriter record, representing Rivers Cuomo's bid for respectability. Weezer can still turn out catchy, offbeat singles -- "The Good Life" has a chorus that is more memorable than "Buddy Holly," "El Scorcho" twists Pavement's junk-culture references in on itself, "Falling for You" is the most propulsive thing they've yet recorded -- but the band's endearing geekiness isn't as cutesy as before, which means the album wasn't as successful on the charts. But it's the better album, full of crunching power pop with a surprisingly strong emotional undercurrent that becomes all the more resonant with each play.


58// Blur Parklife (1994)
Modern Life Is Rubbish established Blur as the heir to the archly British pop of the Kinks, the Small Faces, and the Jam, but its follow-up, Parklife, revealed the depth of that transformation. Relying more heavily on Ray Davies' seriocomic social commentary, as well as new wave, Parklife runs through the entire history of post-British Invasion Britpop in the course of 16 songs, touching on psychedelia, synth pop, disco, punk, and music hall along the way. Damon Albarn intended these songs to form a sketch of British life in the mid-'90s, and it's startling how close he came to his goal; not only did the bouncy, disco-fied "Girls & Boys" and singalong chant "Parklife" become anthems in the U.K., but they inaugurated a new era of Britpop and lad culture, where British youth celebrated their country and traditions.For all of its celebration of tradition, Parklife is a thoroughly modern record in that it bends genres and is self-referential (the mod anthem of the title track is voiced by none other than Phil Daniels, the star of Quadrophenia). And, by tying the past and the present together, Blur articulated the mid-'90s zeitgeist and produced an epoch-defining record.


57// Nick Drake Five Leaves Left (1969)
It's little wonder why Drake felt frustrated at the lack of commercial success his music initially gathered, considering the help he had on his debut record. Besides fine production from Joe Boyd and assistance from folks like Fairport Convention's Richard Thompson and his unrelated bass counterpart from Pentangle, Danny Thompson, Drake also recruited school friend Robert Kirby to create most of the just-right string and wind arrangements. His own performance itself steered a careful balance between too-easy accessibility and maudlin self-reflection, combining the best of both worlds while avoiding the pitfalls on either side. The result was a fantastic debut appearance, and if the cult of Drake consistently reads more into his work than is perhaps deserved, Five Leaves Left is still a most successful effort.


56// The Prodigy Music For The Jilted Generation (1994)
The Prodigy's response to the sweeping legislation and crackdown on raves contained in 1994's Criminal Justice Bill is an effective statement of intent. Pure sonic terrorism, Music for the Jilted Generation employs the same rave energy that charged their debut, Experience, up the charts in Britain, but yokes it to a cause other than massive drug intake. Compared to their previous work, the sound is grubbier and less reliant on samples; the effect moved the Prodigy away from the American-influenced rave and acid house of the past and toward a uniquely British vision of breakbeat techno that was increasingly allied to the limey invention of drum'n'bass.

< Message edited by Olaf -- 31/3/2011 7:18:52 PM >

(in reply to Olaf)
Post #: 11
RE: The EmpireOnline Top 100 Albums 2011: THE RESULTS - 31/3/2011 7:31:59 PM   
Olaf


Posts: 23709
Joined: 26/2/2007
From: 41°N 93°W

55// Modest Mouse
Good News For People Who Love Bad News (2004)
After more than a decade with Modest Mouse, Isaac Brock still sounds young and weird and searching, and never more so than on Good News for People Who Love Bad News, which follows the band's meditative The Moon & Antarctica with a set of songs that are more focused, but also less obviously profound. The occasionally indulgent feel of The Moon & Antarctica allowed Modest Mouse the room to make epic statements about life, death, and the afterlife; while Good News for People Who Love Bad News is equally concerned with mortality and spirituality, it has a more active, immediate feel that makes its comments on these subjects that much more pointed. The band hits these points home with a louder, more rock-oriented sound than they've had since The Lonesome Crowded West, particularly on "Bury Me with It," which embodies many of the contradictions that continue to make Modest Mouse fascinating.


54// Tom Waits
Alice (2002)
Waits manages to delve into the voice of the turned-out lover, the rejected stone, the lost madman, as he does on "We're All Mad Here" and "Everything You Can Think." But even here there is a reflective dimension, nearly childlike in their simple embrace of loss, dispossession, and descent into the maelstrom of the human soul. Ghosts whisper in the mix, spirits float through the air, and demons passionately possess the protagonists. In the simpler, melting melodies of "Lost in the Harbour," "No One Knows I'm Gone," and the haunting tango at the heart of "Watch Her Disappear," obsession with the unmentionable (let alone the unattainable) is offered as an empathy for powerlessness, buoyed up by an instrumental crutch, arranged to give a voice to those who dare not speak publicly. The melodies on Alice are easily the most direct Waits has written since Blue Valentine, but are more elegant than even those found on Foreign Affairs or Black Rider. Alice is no step back, but a further step toward oblivion -- the place where the sound of desolation, the melody of loneliness, and the confused darkness at the root of the human heart come together and speak as one in a nursery rhyme for adults.


53// The Decemberists The Decemberists Present... Picaresque (2005)
"The Infanta," the thunderous opening track on the Decemberists' fluid and predictably studious Picaresque, rolls in like a ghost ship at 40 knots in a hail of cannon fire with a mad English professor at the wheel. Colin Meloy and his esteemed West Coast colleagues have no qualms about beginning their third full-length record with a processional about a child monarch, and it's a testimony to their talents as orators and interpreters of both the absurd and the mundane that they continue to assimilate more fans than they alienate. While Picaresque follows its predecessor's -- the treacly Her Majesty -- predilection for seafaring and mythology, its boot-covered feet are more firmly planted in the present, resulting in the group's most accessible -- and decidedly upbeat -- product to date.


52// Suede Dog Man Star (1995)
Instead of following though on the Bowie-esque glam stomps of their debut, Suede concentrated on their darker, more melodramatic tendencies on their ambitious second album, Dog Man Star. By all accounts, the recording of Dog Man Star was plagued with difficulties -- Brett Anderson wrote the lyrics in a druggy haze while sequestered in a secluded Victorian mansion, while Bernard Butler left before the album was completed -- which makes its singular vision all the more remarkable. As it stands, Dog Man Star is a strangely seductive record, filled with remarkable musical peaks, from the Bowie-esque stomp of "New Generation" to the stately ballads "The Wild Ones" and "Still Life," which are both reminiscent of Scott Walker. And while Suede may choose to wear their influences on their sleeve, they synthesize them in a totally original way, making Dog Man Star a singularly tragic and romantic album.


51// David Bowie Hunky Dory (1971)
After the freakish hard rock of The Man Who Sold the World, David Bowie returned to singer/songwriter territory on Hunky Dory. Not only did the album boast more folky songs ("Song for Bob Dylan," "The Bewlay Brothers"), but he again flirted with Anthony Newley-esque dancehall music ("Kooks," "Fill Your Heart"), seemingly leaving heavy metal behind. As a result, Hunky Dory is a kaleidoscopic array of pop styles, tied together only by Bowie's sense of vision: a sweeping, cinematic mélange of high and low art, ambiguous sexuality, kitsch, and class. On the surface, such a wide range of styles and sounds would make an album incoherent, but Bowie's improved songwriting and determined sense of style instead made Hunky Dory a touchstone for reinterpreting pop's traditions into fresh, postmodern pop music.





< Message edited by Olaf -- 31/3/2011 7:32:57 PM >

(in reply to Olaf)
Post #: 12
RE: The EmpireOnline Top 100 Albums 2011: THE RESULTS - 31/3/2011 7:45:59 PM   
Olaf


Posts: 23709
Joined: 26/2/2007
From: 41°N 93°W

50// The Rolling Stones Exile On Main St. (1972)
Greeted with decidedly mixed reviews upon its original release, Exile on Main St. has become generally regarded as the Rolling Stones' finest album. Part of the reason why the record was initially greeted with hesitant reviews is that it takes a while to assimilate. A sprawling, weary double album encompassing rock & roll, blues, soul, and country, Exile doesn't try anything new on the surface, but the substance is new. Taking the bleakness that underpinned Let It Bleed and Sticky Fingers to an extreme, Exile is a weary record, and not just lyrically. Jagger's vocals are buried in the mix, and the music is a series of dark, dense jams, with Keith Richards and Mick Taylor spinning off incredible riffs and solos.It's the kind of record that's gripping on the very first listen, but each subsequent listen reveals something new. Few other albums, let alone double albums, have been so rich and masterful as Exile on Main St., and it stands not only as one of the Stones' best records, but sets a remarkably high standard for all of hard rock.


49// The Clash London Calling (1979)
London Calling is a remarkable leap forward, incorporating the punk aesthetic into rock & roll mythology and roots music. Before, the Clash had experimented with reggae, but that was no preparation for the dizzying array of styles on London Calling. There's punk and reggae, but there's also rockabilly, ska, New Orleans R&B, pop, lounge jazz, and hard rock; and while the record isn't tied together by a specific theme, its eclecticism and anthemic punk function as a rallying call. While many of the songs -- particularly "London Calling," "Spanish Bombs," and "The Guns of Brixton" -- are explicitly political, by acknowledging no boundaries the music itself is political and revolutionary. But it is also invigorating, rocking harder and with more purpose than most albums, let alone double albums. Over the course of the record, Joe Strummer and Mick Jones (and Paul Simonon, who wrote "The Guns of Brixton") explore their familiar themes of working-class rebellion and antiestablishment rants, but they also tie them in to old rock & roll traditions and myths, whether it's rockabilly greasers or "Stagger Lee," as well as mavericks like doomed actor Montgomery Clift. The result is a stunning statement of purpose and one of the greatest rock & roll albums ever recorded.


48// The White Stripes Elephant (2003)
White Blood Cells may have been a reaction to the amount of fame the White Stripes had received up to the point of its release, but, paradoxically, it made full-fledged rock stars out of Jack and Meg White and sold over half a million copies in the process. Despite the White Stripes' ambivalence, fame nevertheless seems to suit them: They just become more accomplished as the attention paid to them increases. Almost as much fun to analyze as it is to listen to, Elephant overflows with quality -- it's full of tight songwriting, sharp, witty lyrics, and judiciously used basses and tumbling keyboard melodies that enhance the band's powerful simplicity (and the excellent "The Air Near My Fingers" features all of these). Crucially, the White Stripes know the difference between fame and success; while they may not be entirely comfortable with their fame, they've succeeded at mixing blues, punk, and garage rock in an electrifying and unique way ever since they were strictly a Detroit phenomenon. On these terms, Elephant is a phenomenal success.


47// The Smashing Pumpkins Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness (1995)
The Smashing Pumpkins didn't shy away from making the follow-up to the grand, intricate Siamese Dream. With Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, the band turns in one of the most ambitious and indulgent albums in rock history. Lasting over two hours and featuring 28 songs, the album is certainly a challenging listen. To Billy Corgan's credit, it's a rewarding and compelling one as well. Although the artistic scope of the album is immense, the Smashing Pumpkins flourish in such an overblown setting. Corgan's songwriting has never been limited by conventional notions of what a rock band can do, even if it is clear that he draws inspiration from scores of '70s heavy metal and art rock bands. Instead of copying the sounds of his favorite records, he expands on their ideas, making the gentle piano of the title track and the sighing "1979" sit comfortably against the volcanic rush of "Jellybelly" and "Zero." In between those two extremes lies an array of musical styles, drawing from rock, pop, folk, and classical.


46// Oasis Definitely Maybe (1994)

Definitely Maybe manages to encapsulate much of the best of British rock & roll -- from the Beatles to the Stone Roses -- in the space of 11 songs. Oasis' sound is louder and more guitar-oriented than any British band since the Sex Pistols, and the band is blessed with the excellent songwriting of Noel Gallagher. Gallagher writes perfect pop songs, offering a platform for his brother Liam's brash, snarling vocals. Not only does the band have melodies, but they have the capability to work a groove with more dexterity than most post-punk groups. But what makes Definitely Maybe so intoxicating is that it already resembles a greatest-hits album. From the swirling rush of "Rock 'n' Roll Star," through the sinewy "Shakermaker," to the heartbreaking "Live Forever," each song sounds like an instant classic.

(in reply to Olaf)
Post #: 13
RE: The EmpireOnline Top 100 Albums 2011: THE RESULTS - 31/3/2011 7:57:03 PM   
Olaf


Posts: 23709
Joined: 26/2/2007
From: 41°N 93°W

45// Muse Origin Of Symmetry (2001)
If you're going to pillage someone else's ideas, then go for broke. Because even if you find yourself crammed between the barriers of creative space, utterly at a loss for ideas, expression, or thought, you'd still have a self-respect buzzing in your ear like a mad angelic insect, putting down the newspaper and taking out a cigar to remind you that, hell, if want to sound like Radiohead when even Thom Yorke doesn't want to sound like Radiohead, you might as well take it to preposterous, bombastic, over-the-top levels. Add church organs, mental electronics, riffs bouncing off each other like the monolithic screams in 2001: A Space Odyssey, and you'll finally be in position to crack skulls like coconuts and make the world's speakers ooze gooey blood.


44// Regina Spektor Begin To Hope (2006)
On Begin to Hope, Regina Spektor treads a delicate balance between her anti-folk past and her present home on Sire Records. Though the label re-released Soviet Kitsch in 2004, Begin to Hope is Spektor's first original material for Sire, and it feels more like a major-label debut than Soviet Kitsch ever did. The album's big, glossy production and preponderance of drum machines and keyboards inches Spektor toward territory that isn't exactly mainstream, but is closer to a more conventional adult alternative singer/songwriter sound.She also places some truly surreal, heady tracks toward Begin to Hope's end: "Lady" is a torchy number arranged for piano, saxophone, and typewriter, while "20 Years of Snow" is buoyed along by impressionistic keyboards that twinkle and tumble like a just-shaken snow globe. "Apres Moi," one of the album's most impressive tracks, showcases her classical piano training, her Russian heritage, and those biblical influences to ominous, paranoid effect. Leaving the more unique, quintessentially Regina Spektor-esque tracks at the end of Begin to Hope isn't so much a bait-and-switch as is a clever way to lure in and loosen the inhibitions of new fans. The album feels like getting to really know someone: at first, it's polite and a little restrained, but then its real personality, with all of its charming idiosyncrasies, finally reveals itself.


43// Bruce Springsteen The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle (1973)
Bruce Springsteen expanded the folk-rock approach of his debut album, Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J., to strains of jazz, among other styles, on its ambitious follow-up, released only eight months later. His chief musical lieutenant was keyboard player David Sancious, who lived on the E Street that gave the album and Springsteen's backup group its name. With his help, Springsteen created a street-life mosaic of suburban society that owed much in its outlook to Van Morrison's romanticization of Belfast in Astral Weeks. Though Springsteen expressed endless affection and much nostalgia, his message was clear: this was a goodbye-to-all-that from a man who was moving on. The album's songs contain the best realization of Springsteen's poetic vision, which soon enough would be tarnished by disillusionment. He would later make different albums, but he never made a better one. The truth is, The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle is one of the greatest albums in the history of rock & roll.


42// Jeff Buckley
Grace (1994)
Jeff Buckley was many things, but humble wasn't one of them. Grace is an audacious debut album, filled with sweeping choruses, bombastic arrangements, searching lyrics, and above all, the richly textured voice of Buckley himself, which resembled a cross between Robert Plant, Van Morrison, and his father Tim. And that's a fair starting point for his music: Grace sounds like a Led Zeppelin album written by an ambitious folkie with a fondness for lounge jazz. At his best -- the soaring title track, "Last Goodbye," and the mournful "Lover, You Should've Come Over" -- Buckley's grasp met his reach with startling results; at its worst, Grace is merely promising.


41// U2 The Joshua Tree (1987)
Using the textured sonics of The Unforgettable Fire as a basis, U2 expanded those innovations by scaling back the songs to a personal setting and adding a grittier attack for its follow-up, The Joshua Tree. It's a move that returns them to the sweeping, anthemic rock of War, but if War was an exploding political bomb, The Joshua Tree is a journey through its aftermath, trying to find sense and hope in the desperation. That means that even the anthems -- the epic opener "Where the Streets Have No Name," the yearning "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" -- have seeds of doubt within their soaring choruses, and those fears take root throughout the album, whether it's in the mournful sliding acoustic guitars of "Running to Stand Still," the surging "One Tree Hill," or the hypnotic elegy "Mothers of the Disappeared." So it might seem a little ironic that U2 became superstars on the back of such a dark record, but their focus has never been clearer, nor has their music been catchier, than on The Joshua Tree.With the uniformly excellent songs, the result is a powerful, uncompromising record that became a hit due to its vision and its melody. Never before have U2's big messages sounded so direct and personal.

(in reply to Olaf)
Post #: 14
RE: The EmpireOnline Top 100 Albums 2011: THE RESULTS - 31/3/2011 8:11:45 PM   
Olaf


Posts: 23709
Joined: 26/2/2007
From: 41°N 93°W

40// Boards Of Canada Music Has The Right To Children (1998)
Although Boards of Canada's blueprint for electronic listening music -- aching electro-synth with mid-tempo hip-hop beats and occasional light scratching -- isn't quite a revolution in and of itself, Music Has the Right to Children is an amazing LP. Similar to the early work of Autechre and Aphex Twin, the duo is one of the few European artists who can match their American precursors with regard to a sense of spirit in otherwise electronic music. This is pure machine soul, reminiscent of some forgotten Japanese animation soundtrack or a rusting Commodore 64 just about to give up the ghost. Alternating broadly sketched works with minute-long vignettes (the latter of which comprise several of the best tracks on the album), Music Has the Right to Children is one of the best electronic releases of 1998.


39// Oasis (What's The Story) Morning Glory? (1995)
If Definitely Maybe was an unintentional concept album about wanting to be a rock & roll star, (What's the Story) Morning Glory? is what happens after the dreams come true. Oasis turns in a relatively introspective second record, filled with big, gorgeous ballads instead of ripping rockers. Unlike Definitely Maybe, the production on Morning Glory is varied enough to handle the range in emotions; instead of drowning everything with amplifiers turned up to 12, there are strings, keyboards, and harmonicas. This expanded production helps give Noel Gallagher's sweeping melodies an emotional resonance that he occasionally can't convey lyrically. However, that is far from a fatal flaw; Gallagher's lyrics work best in fragments, where the images catch in your mind and grow, thanks to the music. Oasis are hardly innovators, yet they have a majestic grandeur in their sound that makes ballads like "Wonderwall" or rockers like "Some Might Say" positively transcendent. Alan White does add authority to the rhythm section, but the most noticeable change is in Liam Gallagher. His voice sneered throughout Definitely Maybe, but on Morning Glory his singing has become more textured and skillful. He gives the lyric in the raging title track a hint of regret, is sympathetic on "Wonderwall," defiant on "Some Might Say," and humorous on "She's Electric," a bawdy rewrite of "Digsy's Diner." It might not have the immediate impact of Definitely Maybe, but Morning Glory is just as exciting and compulsively listenable.


38// The Long Blondes Someone To Drive You Home (2006)
Following in the shabbily glamorous footsteps of fellow Sheffield residents Pulp, the Long Blondes' debut album, Someone to Drive You Home, is a snappy pop album of quintessentially English vignettes about how growing up is hard to do. The quintet, which is fronted by femme fatale vocalist Kate Jackson, will make you fall in love with their girlish innocence, then steal your boyfriend and break your heart. The Long Blondes make it all seem dangerously romantic, but in a coquettish kind of way. Defining what it means to be in a pop band might prove difficult in 2006, for what is pop music anymore? Lucky for us, the Long Blondes have figured it out for themselves. Someone to Drive You Home is one of those albums that's honest to goodness fun, and pulling it off with as much pastiche as the Long Blondes makes it one of the year's nicest arrivals. Jarvis Cocker and co. would be proud.


37// Led Zeppelin 
IV (1971)
Encompassing heavy metal, folk, pure rock & roll, and blues, Led Zeppelin's untitled fourth album is a monolithic record, defining not only Led Zeppelin but the sound and style of '70s hard rock. Expanding on the breakthroughs of III, Zeppelin fuse their majestic hard rock with a mystical, rural English folk that gives the record epic scope. Even at its most basic -- the muscular, tradtionalist "Rock and Roll" -- the album has a grand sense of drama, which is deepened by Robert Plant's burgeoning obsession with mythology and mysticism. These obsessions come to a head on the eerie folk ballad "The Battle of Evermore," a mandolin-driven song with haunting vocals from Sandy Denny, and on the epic "Stairway to Heaven," which encapsulates the entire album in one song.


36// Pearl Jam Ten (1991)
Nirvana's Nevermind may have been the album that broke grunge and alternative rock into the mainstream, but there's no underestimating the role that Pearl Jam's Ten played in keeping them there. Nirvana's appeal may have been huge, but it wasn't universal; rock radio still viewed them as too raw and punky, and some hard rock fans dismissed them as weird misfits. In retrospect, it's easy to see why Pearl Jam clicked with a mass audience -- they weren't as metallic as Alice in Chains or Soundgarden, and of Seattle's Big Four, their sound owed the greatest debt to classic rock. With its intricately arranged guitar textures and expansive harmonic vocabulary, Ten especially recalled Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin. Though they rock hard, Pearl Jam is too anti-star to swagger, too self-aware to puncture the album's air of gravity. Pearl Jam tackles weighty topics -- abortion, homelessness, childhood traumas, gun violence, rigorous introspection -- with an earnest zeal unmatched since mid-'80s U2, whose anthemic sound they frequently strive for. Similarly, Eddie Vedder's impressionistic lyrics often make their greatest impact through the passionate commitment of his delivery rather than concrete meaning. His voice had a highly distinctive timbre that perfectly fit the album's warm, rich sound, and that's part of the key -- no matter how cathartic Ten's tersely titled songs got, they were never abrasive enough to affect the album's accessibility. Ten also benefited from a long gestation period, during which the band honed the material into this tightly focused form; the result is a flawlessly crafted hard rock masterpiece.

(in reply to Olaf)
Post #: 15
RE: The EmpireOnline Top 100 Albums 2011: THE RESULTS - 31/3/2011 8:23:44 PM   
Olaf


Posts: 23709
Joined: 26/2/2007
From: 41°N 93°W

35// The Beatles Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)
With Revolver, the Beatles made the Great Leap Forward, reaching a previously unheard-of level of sophistication and fearless experimentation. Sgt. Pepper, in many ways, refines that breakthrough, as the Beatles consciously synthesized such disparate influences as psychedelia, art-song, classical music, rock & roll, and music hall, often in the course of one song. Not once does the diversity seem forced -- the genius of the record is how the vaudevillian "When I'm 64" seems like a logical extension of "Within You Without You" and how it provides a gateway to the chiming guitars of "Lovely Rita." There's no discounting the individual contributions of each member or their producer, George Martin, but the preponderance of whimsy and self-conscious art gives the impression that Paul McCartney is the leader.


34// The Velvet Underground The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967)
One would be hard pressed to name a rock album whose influence has been as broad and pervasive as The Velvet Underground and Nico. While it reportedly took over a decade for the album's sales to crack six figures, glam, punk, new wave, goth, noise, and nearly every other left-of-center rock movement owes an audible debt to this set. While The Velvet Underground had as distinctive a sound as any band, what's most surprising about this album is its diversity. Here, the Velvets dipped their toes into dreamy pop ("Sunday Morning"), tough garage rock ("Waiting for the Man"), stripped-down R&B ("There She Goes Again"), and understated love songs ("I'll Be Your Mirror") when they weren't busy creating sounds without pop precedent. Few rock albums are as important as The Velvet Underground and Nico.


33// R.E.M. Automatic For The People (1992)
Turning away from the sweet pop of Out of Time, R.E.M. created a haunting, melancholy masterpiece with Automatic for the People. At its core, the album is a collection of folk songs about aging, death, and loss, but the music has a grand, epic sweep provided by layers of lush strings, interweaving acoustic instruments, and shimmering keyboards. Automatic for the People captures the group at a crossroads, as they moved from cult heroes to elder statesmen, and the album is a graceful transition into their new status. It is a reflective album, with frank discussions on mortality, but it is not a despairing record -- "Nightswimming," "Everybody Hurts," and "Sweetness Follows" have a comforting melancholy, while "Find the River" provides a positive sense of closure. R.E.M. have never been as emotionally direct as they are on Automatic for the People, nor have they ever created music quite as rich and timeless, and while the record is not an easy listen, it is the most rewarding record in their oeuvre.


32// Pink Floyd The Dark Side Of The Moon (1973)
By condensing the sonic explorations of Meddle to actual songs and adding a lush, immaculate production to their trippiest instrumental sections, Pink Floyd inadvertently designed their commercial breakthrough with Dark Side of the Moon. The primary revelation of Dark Side of the Moon is what a little focus does for the band. Roger Waters wrote a series of songs about mundane, everyday details which aren't that impressive by themselves, but when given the sonic backdrop of Floyd's slow, atmospheric soundscapes and carefully placed sound effects, they achieve an emotional resonance. But what gives the album true power is the subtly textured music, which evolves from ponderous, neo-psychedelic art rock to jazz fusion and blues-rock before turning back to psychedelia. It's dense with detail, but leisurely paced, creating its own dark, haunting world. Pink Floyd may have better albums than Dark Side of the Moon, but no other record defines them quite as well as this one.


31// Joy Division Closer (1980)
If Unknown Pleasures was Joy Division at their most obsessively, carefully focused, ten songs yet of a piece, Closer was the sprawl, the chaotic explosion that went every direction at once. Who knows what the next path would have been had Ian Curtis not chosen his end? But steer away from the rereading of his every lyric after that date; treat Closer as what everyone else thought it was at first -- simply the next album -- and Joy Division's power just seems to have grown. Martin Hannett was still producing, but seems to have taken as many chances as the band itself throughout -- differing mixes, differing atmospheres, new twists and turns define the entirety of Closer, songs suddenly returned in chopped-up, crumpled form, ending on hiss and random notes. Joy Division were at the height of their powers on Closer, equaling and arguably bettering the astonishing Unknown Pleasures, that's how accomplished the four members were. Rock, however defined, rarely seems and sounds so important, so vital, and so impossible to resist or ignore as here.

< Message edited by Olaf -- 31/3/2011 8:24:38 PM >

(in reply to Olaf)
Post #: 16
RE: The EmpireOnline Top 100 Albums 2011: THE RESULTS - 31/3/2011 8:35:59 PM   
Olaf


Posts: 23709
Joined: 26/2/2007
From: 41°N 93°W

30// Tom Waits Rain Dogs (1985)
With its jarring rhythms and unusual instrumentation -- marimba, accordion, various percussion -- as well as its frequently surreal lyrics, Rain Dogs is very much a follow-up to Swordfishtrombones, which is to say that it sounds for the most part like The Threepenny Opera being sung by Howlin' Wolf. The chief musical difference is the introduction of guitarist Marc Ribot, who adds his noisy leads to the general cacophony. But Rain Dogs is sprawling where its predecessor had been focused: Tom Waits' lyrics here sometimes are imaginative to the point of obscurity, seemingly chosen to fit the rhythms rather than for sense. Rain Dogs can't surprise as Swordfishtrombones had, and in his attempt to continue in the direction suggested by that album, Waits occasionally borders on the chaotic (which may only be to say that, like most of his records, this one is uneven). But much of the music matches the earlier album, and there is so much of it that that is enough to qualify Rain Dogs as one of Waits' better albums.


29// Kate Bush Hounds Of Love (1985)
Kate Bush's strongest album to date also marked her breakthrough into the American charts, and yielded a set of dazzling videos as well as an enviable body of hits, spearheaded by "Running Up That Hill," her biggest single since "Wuthering Heights." Strangely enough, Hounds of Love was no less complicated in its structure, imagery, and extra-musical references (even lifting a line of dialogue from Jacques Tourneur's Curse of the Demon for the intro of the title song) than The Dreaming, which had been roundly criticized for being too ambitious and complex. But Hounds of Love was more carefully crafted as a pop record, and it abounded in memorable melodies and arrangements, the latter reflecting idioms ranging from orchestrated progressive pop to high-wattage traditional folk; and at the center of it all was Bush in the best album-length vocal performance of her career, extending her range and also drawing expressiveness from deep inside of herself, so much so that one almost feels as though he's eavesdropping at moments during "Running Up That Hill."In some respects, this was also Bush's first fully realized album, done completely on her own terms, made entirely at her own 48-track home studio, to her schedule and preferences, and delivered whole to EMI as a finished work; that history is important, helping to explain the sheer presence of the album's most striking element -- the spirit of experimentation at every turn, in the little details of the sound. That vastly divergent grasp, from the minutiae of each song to the broad sweeping arc of the two suites, all heavily ornamented with layered instrumentation, makes this record wonderfully overpowering as a piece of pop music.


28// Van Morrison Astral Weeks (1968)
Astral Weeks is generally considered one of the best albums in pop music history. For all that renown, Astral Weeks is anything but an archetypal rock & roll album: in fact, it isn't a rock & roll album at all. Employing a mixture of folk, blues, jazz, and classical music, Van Morrison spins out a series of extended ruminations on his Belfast upbringing, including the remarkable character "Madame George" and the climactic epiphany experienced on "Cyprus Avenue." Accompanying himself on acoustic guitar, Morrison sings in his elastic, bluesy voice, accompanied by a jazz rhythm section (Jay Berliner, guitar, Richard Davis, bass, Connie Kay, drums), plus reeds (John Payne) and vibes (Warren Smith, Jr.), with a string quartet overdubbed. An emotional outpouring cast in delicate musical structures, Astral Weeks has a unique musical power. Unlike any record before or since, it nevertheless encompasses the passion and tenderness that have always mixed in the best postwar popular music, easily justifying the critics' raves.


27// Neutral Milk Hotel In The Aeroplane Over The Sea (1997)
Perhaps best likened to a marching band on an acid trip, Neutral Milk Hotel's second album is another quixotic sonic parade; lo-fi yet lush, impenetrable yet wholly accessible, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea is either the work of a genius or an utter crackpot, with the truth probably falling somewhere in between. Again teaming with producer Robert Schneider, Jeff Mangum invests the material here with new maturity and clarity; while the songs run continuously together, as they did on the previous On Avery Island, there is a much clearer sense of shifting dynamics from track to track, with a greater emphasis on structure and texture. Mangum's vocals are far more emotive as well; whether caught in the rush of spiritual epiphany ("The King of Carrot Flowers Pts. Two and Three") or in the grip of sexual anxiety ("Two-Headed Boy"), he sings with a new fervor, composed in equal measure of ecstasy and anguish.


26// Radiohead In Rainbows (2007)
In Rainbows, as a title, implies a sense of comfort and delightfulness. Symbolically, rainbows are more likely to be associated with kittens and warm blankets than the grim and glum circumstances Radiohead is known for soundtracking. There's a slight, if expected, twist at play. The band is more than familiar with the unpleasant moods associated with colors like red, green, and blue -- all of which, of course, are colors within a rainbow -- all of which are present, and even mentioned, during the album. On a couple levels, then, In Rainbows is not any less fitting as a Radiohead album title than "Myxomatosis" is as a Radiohead song title. Despite references to "going off the rails," hitting "the bottom," getting "picked over by the worms," being "dead from the neck up," and feeling "trapped" (twice), along with Radiohead Wordplay Deluxe Home Edition pieces like "comatose" and "nightmare" -- in the same song! double score! -- the one aspect of the album that becomes increasingly perceptible with each listen is how romantic it feels, albeit in the way that one might find the bioport scenes in David Cronenberg's eXistenZ to be extremely hot and somewhat unsettling. Surprisingly, some of the album's lyrics are even more personal/universal and straightforward than anything on The Eraser, the album made by Thom Yorke and Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich. "I'm an animal trapped in your hot car," from "All I Need," has to be one of the saddest, most open-hearted metaphors used to express unrequited love.This effective weaving of disparate elements -- lyrical expressions commonly associated with the band, mixed in with ones suited for everyday love ballads -- goes for the music as well. The album is very song-oriented, with each track constantly moving forward and developing, yet there are abstract electronic layers and studio-as-instrument elements to prevent it from sounding like a regression.

(in reply to Olaf)
Post #: 17
RE: The EmpireOnline Top 100 Albums 2011: THE RESULTS - 31/3/2011 9:07:24 PM   
Olaf


Posts: 23709
Joined: 26/2/2007
From: 41°N 93°W

25// Bruce Springsteen Nebraska (1982)
There is an adage in the record business that a recording artist's demos of new songs often come off better than the more polished versions later worked up in a studio. But Bruce Springsteen was the first person to act on that theory, when he opted to release the demo versions of his latest songs, recorded with only acoustic or electric guitar, harmonica, and vocals, as his sixth album, Nebraska. It was really the content that dictated the approach, however. Nebraska's ten songs marked a departure for Springsteen, even as they took him farther down a road he had been traveling previously. Gradually, his songs had become darker and more pessimistic, and those on Nebraska marked a new low. They also found him branching out into better developed stories. Within the difficult times, however, there was hope, especially as the album went on. "Open All Night" was a Chuck Berry-style rocker, and the album closed with "Reason to Believe," a song whose hard-luck verses were belied by the chorus -- even if the singer couldn't understand what it was, "people find some reason to believe." Still, Nebraska was one of the most challenging albums ever released by a major star on a major record label.


24// Guns N Roses Appetite For Destruction (1987)
Guns N' Roses' debut, Appetite for Destruction was a turning point for hard rock in the late '80s -- it was a dirty, dangerous, and mean record in a time when heavy metal meant nothing but a good time. On the surface, Guns N' Roses may appear to celebrate the same things as their peers -- namely, sex, liquor, drugs, and rock & roll -- but there is a nasty edge to their songs, since Axl Rose doesn't see much fun in the urban sprawl of L.A. and its parade of heavy metal thugs, cheap women, booze, and crime. The music is as nasty as the lyrics, wallowing in a bluesy, metallic hard rock borrowed from Aerosmith, AC/DC, and countless faceless hard rock bands of the early '80s. It's a primal, sleazy sound that adds grit to already grim tales. Rose also has a talent for conveying the fears and horrors of the decaying inner city, whether it's on the charging "Welcome to the Jungle," the heroin ode "Mr. Brownstone," or "Paradise City," which simply wants out. But as good as Rose's lyrics and screeching vocals are, they wouldn't be nearly as effective without the twin-guitar interplay of Slash and Izzy Stradlin, who spit out riffs and solos better than any band since the Rolling Stones, and that's what makes Appetite for Destruction the best metal record of the late '80s.


23// Arcade Fire The Suburbs (2010)
Having already fled the cold comforts of suburbia on Funeral and suffered beneath the weight of the world on Neon Bible, it seems fitting that a band once so consumed with spiritual and social middle-class fury, should find peace “under the overpass in the parking lot.” If nostalgia is just pain recalled, repaired, and resold, then The Suburbs is its sales manual. Multiple spins reveal a work that’s as triumphant and soul-slamming as it is sentimental and mature. At its most spirited, like on “Empty Room,” “Rococo,” “City with No Children,” “Half Light II (No Celebration),” “We Used to Wait,” and the glorious Régine Chassagne-led “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains),” the latter of which threatens to break into Blondie’s “Heart of Glass” at any moment, Arcade Fire makes the suburbs feel positively electric. Quieter moments reveal a changing of the guard, as Win trades in the Springsteen-isms of Neon Bible for Neil Young on “Wasted Hours,” and the ornate rage of Funeral for the simplicity of a line like “Let’s go for a drive and see the town tonight/There’s nothing do, but I don’t mind when I’m with you,” from album highlight “Suburban War.” The Suburbs feels like Richard Linklater’s Dazed & Confused for the Y generation. It’s serious without being preachy, cynical without dissolving into apathy, and whimsical enough to keep both sentiments in line, and of all of their records, it may be the one that ages so well.


22// The Smiths The Queen Is Dead (1986)
Meat Is Murder may have been a holding pattern, but The Queen Is Dead is the Smiths' great leap forward, taking the band to new musical and lyrical heights. Opening with the storming title track, The Queen Is Dead is a harder-rocking record than anything the Smiths had attempted before, but that's only on a relative scale -- although the backbeat is more pronounced, the group certainly doesn't rock in a conventional sense. Instead, Johnny Marr has created a dense web of guitars, alternating from the minor-key rush of "Bigmouth Strikes Again" and the faux rockabilly of "Vicar in a Tutu" to the bouncy acoustic pop of "Cemetry Gates" and "The Boy With the Thorn in His Side," as well as the lovely melancholy of "I Know It's Over" and "There Is a Light That Never Goes Out." And the rich musical bed provides Morrissey with the support for his finest set of lyrics. Shattering the myth that he is a self-pitying sap, Morrissey delivers a devastating set of clever, witty satires of British social mores, intellectualism, class, and even himself. He also crafts some of his finest, most affecting songs, particularly in the wistful "The Boy With the Thorn in His Side" and the epic "There Is a Light That Never Goes Out," two masterpieces that provide the foundation for a remarkable album.


21// Daft Punk Discovery (2001)
Four long years after their debut, Homework, Daft Punk returned with a second full-length, also packed with excellent productions and many of the obligatory nods to the duo's favorite stylistic speed bumps of the 1970s and '80s. Discovery is by no means the same record, though. Deserting the shrieking acid house hysteria of their early work, the album moves in the same smooth filtered disco circles as the European dance smashes ("Music Sounds Better with You" and "Gym Tonic") that were co-produced by DP's Thomas Bangalter during the group's long interim. If Homework was Daft Punk's Chicago house record, this is definitely the New York garage edition, with co-productions and vocals from Romanthony and Todd Edwards, two of the brightest figures based in New Jersey's fertile garage scene. Also in common with classic East Coast dance and '80s R&B, Discovery surprisingly focuses on songwriting and concise productions, though the pair's visions of bucolic pop on "Digital Love" and "Something About Us" are delivered by an androgynous, vocoderized frontman singing trite (though rather endearing) love lyrics.

(in reply to Olaf)
Post #: 18
RE: The EmpireOnline Top 100 Albums 2011: THE RESULTS - 31/3/2011 9:21:36 PM   
Olaf


Posts: 23709
Joined: 26/2/2007
From: 41°N 93°W

20// Joy Division Unknown Pleasures (1979)
It even looks like something classic, beyond its time or place of origin even as it was a clear product of both -- one of Peter Saville's earliest and best designs, a transcription of a signal showing a star going nova, on a black embossed sleeve. If that were all Unknown Pleasures was, it wouldn't be discussed so much, but the ten songs inside, quite simply, are stone-cold landmarks, the whole album a monument to passion, energy, and cathartic despair. The quantum leap from the earliest thrashy singles to Unknown Pleasures can be heard through every note, with Martin Hannett's deservedly famous production -- emphasizing space in the most revelatory way since the dawn of dub -- as much a hallmark as the music itself.But even though this is Hannett's album as much as anyone's, the songs and performances are the true key. Bernard Sumner redefined heavy metal sludge as chilling feedback fear and explosive energy, Peter Hook's instantly recognizable bass work at once warm and forbidding, Stephen Morris' drumming smacking through the speakers above all else. Ian Curtis synthesizes and purifies every last impulse, his voice shot through with the desire first and foremost to connect, only connect -- as "Candidate" plaintively states, "I tried to get to you/You treat me like this." Pick any song: the nervous death dance of "She's Lost Control"; the harrowing call for release "New Dawn Fades," all four members in perfect sync; the romance in hell of "Shadowplay"; "Insight" and its nervous drive toward some sort of apocalypse. All visceral, all emotional, all theatrical, all perfect -- one of the best albums ever.


19// Pulp Different Class (1995)
After years of obscurity, Pulp shot to stardom in Britain with 1994's His 'n' Hers. By the time Different Class was released at the end of October 1995, the band, particularly lead singer Jarvis Cocker, were genuine British superstars, with two number two singles and a triumphant last-minute performance at Glastonbury under their belts, as well as one tabloid scandal. On the heels of such excitement, anticipation for Different Class ran high, and not only does it deliver, it blows away all their previous albums, including the fine His 'n' Hers. Pulp don't stray from their signature formula at all -- it's still grandly theatrical, synth-spiked pop with new wave and disco flourishes, but they have mastered it here.Jarvis Cocker's lyrics take two themes, sex and social class, and explore a number of different avenues in bitingly clever ways. As well as perfectly capturing the behavior of his characters, Cocker grasps the nuances of language, creating a dense portrait of suburban and working-class life. All of his sex songs are compassionate, while the subtle satire of "Sorted for E's & Wizz" is affectionate, but the best moment on the album is the hit single "Common People," about a rich girl who gets off by slumming with the lower class. Coming from Cocker, who made secondhand clothes and music glamorous, the song is undeniably affecting and exciting, much like Different Class itself.


18// Manic Street Preachers The Holy Bible (1994)
It's difficult not to look at The Holy Bible as Richey James' last will and testament, yet that only makes the record all the more powerful. A remarkable step forward from the Manic Street Preachers' first two records, The Holy Bible is a tense, harrowing collection of tortured, cryptic declarations of depression -- the diary of anorexia "4st 7lb" is one of the most chilling songs in rock & roll. James' lyrics, which are punctuated by Nicky Wire's political tirades, are unflinching in their bleakness. Every song has a passage frightening in its imagery. Although the music itself isn't as scarily intense, its tight, terse hard rock and glam hooks accentuate the paranoia behind the songs, making the lyrics cut deeper.


17// Pixies Doolittle (1989)
After 1988's brilliant but abrasive Surfer Rosa, the Pixies' sound couldn't get much more extreme. Their Elektra debut, Doolittle, reins in the noise in favor of pop songcraft and accessibility. Producer Gil Norton's sonic sheen adds some polish, but Black Francis' tighter songwriting focuses the group's attack. Doolittle's most ferocious moments, like "Dead," a visceral retelling of David and Bathsheba's affair -- are more stylized than the group's past outbursts. Meanwhile, their poppy side surfaces on the irresistible single "Here Comes Your Man" and the sweetly surreal love song "La La Love You." The Pixies' arty, noisy weirdness mix with just enough hooks to produce gleefully demented singles like "Debaser," -- inspired by Bunuel's classic surrealist short Un Chien Andalou -- and "Wave of Mutilation," their surfy ode to driving a car into the sea.Their most accessible album, Doolittle's wide-ranging moods and sounds make it one of their most eclectic and ambitious. A fun, freaky alternative to most other late-'80s college rock, it's easy to see why the album made the Pixies into underground rock stars.


16// Bob Dylan Blonde On Blonde (1966)
If Highway 61 Revisited played as a garage rock record, the double album Blonde on Blonde inverted that sound, blending blues, country, rock, and folk into a wild, careening, and dense sound. Replacing the fiery Michael Bloomfield with the intense, weaving guitar of Robbie Robertson, Bob Dylan led a group comprised of his touring band the Hawks and session musicians through his richest set of songs. Blonde on Blonde is an album of enormous depth, providing endless lyrical and musical revelations on each play. Leavening the edginess of Highway 61 with a sense of the absurd, Blonde on Blonde is comprised entirely of songs driven by inventive, surreal, and witty wordplay, not only on the rockers but also on winding, moving ballads like "Visions of Johanna," "Just Like a Woman," and "Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands." Throughout the record, the music matches the inventiveness of the songs, filled with cutting guitar riffs, liquid organ riffs, crisp pianos, and even woozy brass bands ("Rainy Day Women #12 & 35"). It's the culmination of Dylan's electric rock & roll period -- he would never release a studio record that rocked this hard, or had such bizarre imagery, ever again.

< Message edited by Olaf -- 31/3/2011 9:22:08 PM >

(in reply to Olaf)
Post #: 19
RE: The EmpireOnline Top 100 Albums 2011: THE RESULTS - 31/3/2011 9:34:33 PM   
Olaf


Posts: 23709
Joined: 26/2/2007
From: 41°N 93°W

15// The Smiths Strangeways, Here We Come (1987)
Recorded as the relationship between Morrissey and Johnny Marr was beginning to splinter, Strangeways, Here We Come is the most carefully considered and elaborately produced album in the group's catalog. Though it aspires greatly to better The Queen Is Dead, it falls just short of its goals. With producer Stephen Street, the Smiths created a subtly shaded and skilled album, one boasting a fuller production than before. Morrissey and Marr also labored hard over the songs, working to expand the Smiths' sound within their very real boundaries. For the most part, they succeed. "I Started Something I Couldn't Finish," "Girlfriend in a Coma," "Stop Me if You Think You've Heard This One Before," and "I Won't Share You" are classics, while "A Rush and a Push and the Land Is Ours," "Death of a Disco Dancer," and "Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me" aren't far behind. Strangeways is a graceful way to bow out.


14// The Strokes Is This It (2001)
Blessed and cursed with an enormous amount of hype from the British press, the Strokes prove to be one of the few groups deserving of their glowing reviews. Granted, their high-fashion appeal and faultless influences -- Television, the Stooges, and especially Lou Reed and the Velvets -- have "critics' darlings" written all over them. But like the similarly lauded Elastica and Supergrass before them, the Strokes don't rehash the sounds that inspire them -- they remake them in their own image. On the Modern Age EP, singles like Hard to Explain, and their full-length debut, Is This It, the N.Y.C. group presents a pop-inflected, second-generation take on late-'70s New York punk, complete with raw, world-weary vocals, spiky guitars, and an insistently chugging backbeat. However, their songs also reflected their own early-twenties lust for life. Able to make the timeworn themes of sex, drugs, and rock & roll and the basic guitars-drum-bass lineup seem new and vital again, the Strokes may or may not be completely arty and calculated, but that doesn't prevent Is This It from being an exciting, compulsively listenable debut.


13// The Stone Roses The Stone Roses (1989)
Since the Stone Roses were the nominal leaders of Britain's "Madchester" scene -- an indie rock phenomenon that fused guitar pop with drug-fueled rave and dance culture -- it's rather ironic that their eponymous debut only hints at dance music. What made the Stone Roses important was how they welcomed dance and pop together, treating them as if they were the same beast. Equally important was the Roses' cool, detached arrogance, which was personified by Ian Brown's nonchalant vocals. Brown's effortless malevolence is brought to life with songs that equal both his sentiments and his voice -- "I Wanna Be Adored," with its creeping bassline and waves of cool guitar hooks, doesn't demand adoration, it just expects it. Similarly, Brown can claim "I Am the Resurrection" and lie back, as if there were no room for debate. But the key to The Stone Roses is John Squire's layers of simple, exceedingly catchy hooks and how the rhythm section of Reni and Mani always imply dance rhythms without overtly going into the disco. On "She Bangs the Drums" and "Elephant Stone," the hooks wind into the rhythm inseparably -- the '60s hooks and the rolling beats manage to convey the colorful, neo-psychedelic world of acid house. Squire's riffs are bright and catchy, recalling the British Invasion while suggesting the future with their phased, echoey effects. The Stone Roses was a two-fold revolution -- it brought dance music to an audience that was previously obsessed with droning guitars, while it revived the concept of classic pop songwriting, and the repercussions of its achievement could be heard throughout the '90s, even if the Stone Roses could never achieve this level of achievement again.


12// Bruce Springsteen
Born To Run (1975)
Bruce Springsteen's make-or-break third album represented a sonic leap from his first two, which had been made for modest sums at a suburban studio; Born to Run was cut on a superstar budget, mostly at the Record Plant in New York. Springsteen's backup band had changed, with his two virtuoso players, keyboardist David Sancious and drummer Vini Lopez, replaced by the professional but less flashy Roy Bittan and Max Weinberg. The result was a full, highly produced sound that contained elements of Phil Spector's melodramatic work of the 1960s. Layers of guitar, layers of echo on the vocals, lots of keyboards, thunderous drums -- Born to Run had a big sound, and Springsteen wrote big songs to match it. To call Born to Run overblown is to miss the point; Springsteen's precise intention is to blow things up, both in the sense of expanding them to gargantuan size and of exploding them. If The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle was an accidental miracle, Born to Run was an intentional masterpiece. It declared its own greatness with songs and a sound that lived up to Springsteen's promise, and though some thought it took itself too seriously, many found that exalting.


11// Bob Dylan Blood On The Tracks (1975)
Following on the heels of an album where he repudiated his past with his greatest backing band, Blood on the Tracks finds Bob Dylan, in a way, retreating to the past, recording a largely quiet, acoustic-based album. But this is hardly nostalgia -- this is the sound of an artist returning to his strengths, what feels most familiar, as he accepts a traumatic situation, namely the breakdown of his marriage. This is an album alternately bitter, sorrowful, regretful, and peaceful, easily the closest he ever came to wearing his emotions on his sleeve. That's not to say that it's an explicitly confessional record, since many songs are riddles or allegories, yet the warmth of the music makes it feel that way. The original version of the album was even quieter -- first takes of "Idiot Wind" and "Tangled Up in Blue," available on The Bootleg Series, Vols. 1-3, are hushed and quiet (excised verses are quoted in the liner notes, but not heard on the record) -- but Blood on the Tracks remains an intimate, revealing affair since these harsher takes let his anger surface the way his sadness does elsewhere. As such, it's an affecting, unbearably poignant record, not because it's a glimpse into his soul, but because the songs are remarkably clear-eyed and sentimental, lovely and melancholy at once. And, in a way, it's best that he was backed with studio musicians here, since the professional, understated backing lets the songs and emotion stand at the forefront. Dylan made albums more influential than this, but he never made one better.

(in reply to Olaf)
Post #: 20
RE: The EmpireOnline Top 100 Albums 2011: THE RESULTS - 31/3/2011 9:51:26 PM   
Olaf


Posts: 23709
Joined: 26/2/2007
From: 41°N 93°W
10//
Nirvana
Nevermind (1991)


'The music — fuzz-blast guitars, throbbing bass — roars and spits with enough in-your-face bluster to make your compact disc skip; left-of-center rock rarely sounds as alive as the metallic punk of ''Smells Like Teen Spirit,'' the album's first single... Nirvana may not stand a chance of selling anywhere near as many records as Guns N' Roses, but don't tell Cobain; you never know how he'll react.' (Entertainment Weekly)

'"Nevermind" is above easy categorization. Its accelerated rhythms and three-chord power riffs come from punk rock, but the dense, slamming guitars are as heavy as metal; Mr. Cobain has a menacing growl that could compete with the most ferocious metal dudes, but when the songs lighten up he shows a voice that is just as well suited to melodic pop. Sometimes Nirvana will crack open a ballad by inserting a full-scale punk chorus, or construct a song out of acoustic guitar, bass and no percussion except a few well-timed cymbal crashes. The songs seem to follow an internal purpose all their own.' (New York Times)

'When Nirvana released Bleach all those years ago, the more sussed among us figured they had the potential to make an album that would blow every other contender away. My God, have they proved us right.' (Melody Maker)






< Message edited by Olaf -- 31/3/2011 10:12:59 PM >

(in reply to Olaf)
Post #: 21
RE: The EmpireOnline Top 100 Albums 2011: THE RESULTS - 31/3/2011 10:02:52 PM   
Olaf


Posts: 23709
Joined: 26/2/2007
From: 41°N 93°W
09//
My Bloody Valentine
Loveless (1991)


'Look beyond the instantly attractive "sound-kaleidoscopes" of Curve, Chapterhouse, Slowdive and a hundred others and you'll see the blueprint that predates them, the fountain of inspiration they've drunk deeply from. "Loveless" fires a silver-coated bullet into the future, daring all-comers to try and recreate its mixture of moods, feelings, emotion, styles and, yes, innovations. "Loveless" ups the ante, and, however decadent one might find the idea of elevating other human beings to deities, My Bloody Valentine, failings and all, deserve more than your respect.' (NME)

'Now that Kevin Shields is in better health and is slowly returning to the scene, he's explained that Loveless was something of an albatross for him, that he never could find a proper way to follow it. He should be comforted by the fact that no one else has been able to follow it, either. I've long dreamt of an album that was "Like Loveless , but more ," but I haven't found it. And so many hundreds of albums have tried. Perhaps this is the sound of a single idea perfected. We should move on and continue to explore the vast spectrum of sound and feeling music provides, but we'll always return to Loveless for what it alone can deliver.' (Pitchfork)

'"Loveless" is the outermost, innermost, uttermost rock record of 1991.' (Simon Reynolds)

< Message edited by Olaf -- 31/3/2011 10:13:07 PM >

(in reply to Olaf)
Post #: 22
RE: The EmpireOnline Top 100 Albums 2011: THE RESULTS - 31/3/2011 10:12:23 PM   
Olaf


Posts: 23709
Joined: 26/2/2007
From: 41°N 93°W
08//
Bob Dylan
Highway 61 Revisited (1965)



'Highway 61 Revisited — named after the road that runs from Dylan's home state of Minnesota down through the Mississippi Delta — is one of those albums that, quite simply, changed everything. In and of itself, "Like a Rolling Stone," which was rumored to be about Andy Warhol acolyte Edie Sedgwick, forever altered the landscape of popular music — its "vomitific" lyrics (in Dylan's memorable term), literary ambition and sheer length (6:13) shattered limitations of every kind.' (Rolling Stone)

'The first time I heard "Like A Rolling Stone", I was in th
e car with my mother listening to WMCA, and on came that snare shot that sounded like somebody had kicked open the door to your mind.' (Bruce Springsteen)

'I put on Highway 61 and I laughed and said it's so ridiculous. It's impossibly good, it just can't be that good. How can a human mind do this?' (Phil Ochs)


< Message edited by Olaf -- 31/3/2011 10:13:16 PM >

(in reply to Olaf)
Post #: 23
RE: The EmpireOnline Top 100 Albums 2011: THE RESULTS - 31/3/2011 10:23:04 PM   
Olaf


Posts: 23709
Joined: 26/2/2007
From: 41°N 93°W
07//
David Bowie
The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars (1972)


'In its own way, this is audacious stuff right down to the stubborn wispiness of its sound, and Bowie's actorly intonations add humor and shades of meaning to the words. Which are often witty and rarely precious, offering an unusually candid and detailed vantage on the rock star's world.' (Robert Christgau)

'David Bowie has pulled off his complex task with consummate style, with some great rock & roll (the Spiders are Mick Ronson on guitar and piano, Mick Woodmansey on drums and Trevor Bolder on bass; they're good), with all the wit and passion required to give it sufficient dimension and with a deep sense of humanity that regularly emerges from behind the Star facade. The important thing is that despite the formidable nature of the undertaking, he hasn't sacrificed a bit of entertainment value for the sake of message. I'd give it at least a 99.' (Richard Cromelin, Rolling Stone)

'Of course there's nothing Bowie would like more than to be a glittery super-star, and it could still come to pass.  By now everybody ought to know he's tremendous and this latest chunk of fantasy can only enhance his reputation further.' (New Musical Express)

< Message edited by Olaf -- 31/3/2011 11:39:14 PM >

(in reply to Olaf)
Post #: 24
RE: The EmpireOnline Top 100 Albums 2011: THE RESULTS - 31/3/2011 10:33:10 PM   
Olaf


Posts: 23709
Joined: 26/2/2007
From: 41°N 93°W
06//
The Beatles
Revolver (1966)


'Revolver in the end is the sound of a band growing into supreme confidence. The Beatles had been transformed into a group not beholden to the expectations of their label or bosses, but fully calling the shots-- recording at their own pace, releasing records at a less-demanding clip, abandoning the showmanship of live performance. Lesser talents or a less-motivated group of people may have shrunk from the challenge, but here the Beatles took upon the task of redefining what was expected from popular music.' (Pitchfork)

'All the rules fell by the wayside with Revolver.' (Allmusic)

'Listen to all those crazy sounds! It'll be popular in discotheques. I can imagine they had George Martin tied to a totem pole when they did this.' (Ray Davies)

(in reply to Olaf)
Post #: 25
RE: The EmpireOnline Top 100 Albums 2011: THE RESULTS - 31/3/2011 10:47:25 PM   
Olaf


Posts: 23709
Joined: 26/2/2007
From: 41°N 93°W
05//
The Beatles
The White Album (1968)


'If there is still any doubt that Lennon and McCartney are the greatest song writers since Schubert, then [The White Album] should surely see the last vestiges of cultural snobbery and bourgeois prejudice swept away in a deluge of joyful music making, which only the ignorant will not hear and only the deaf will not acknowledge.' (Tony Palmer, The Observer)

'From the plangent yearning of Lennon's "Julia" to the exuberance of McCartney's "Back in the U.S.S.R." and the prayerfulness of Harrison's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", the White Album is an exhilarating sprawl — some of the Beatles' most daring and delicate work.' (Rolling Stone)

'A magical musical anthology.' (The Vatican)

(in reply to Olaf)
Post #: 26
RE: The EmpireOnline Top 100 Albums 2011: THE RESULTS - 31/3/2011 10:54:30 PM   
Olaf


Posts: 23709
Joined: 26/2/2007
From: 41°N 93°W
04//
Radiohead
Kid A (2000)


'"Kid A" immerses listeners in an ocean of unparalleled musical depth. It is, without question, the first truly groundbreaking album of the 21st century.' (Billboard)

'Comparing this to other albums is like comparing an aquarium to blue construction paper.... It's the sound of a band, and its leader, losing faith in themselves, destroying themselves, and subsequently rebuilding a perfect entity. In other words, Radiohead hated being Radiohead, but ended up with the most ideal, natural Radiohead record yet.' (Pitchfork)

'Kid A is a vital work. Anyone remotely interested in contemporary music should listen to it at least once.' (Wire)

(in reply to Olaf)
Post #: 27
RE: The EmpireOnline Top 100 Albums 2011: THE RESULTS - 31/3/2011 11:09:01 PM   
Olaf


Posts: 23709
Joined: 26/2/2007
From: 41°N 93°W
03//
Radiohead
OK Computer (1997)



'A spooky, atmospheric, intense and paranoid rumination on modern life - OK Computer marked these five Oxonians' departure from mainstream rock and their assumption of the title The Only Band That Matters, which they still hold as of this writing.' (Time)

'Each generation of rock fans invariably believe that everything that can be done in the genre has already been achieved, but Radiohead helped prove otherwise. OK Computer took guitar rock (and make no mistake—despite its amalgam of analog and digital technologies, that's what the album is) to places it had never gone before.' (Slant)

'A spectacular success: a true articulation of the anxiety of late-20th century man backed with music not only of extraordinary grace and melody, but also of experimental clarity and vision. Truly, this is one of the greatest albums of living memory - and the one that distances Radiohead from their peers by an interstellar mile.' (NME)

(in reply to Olaf)
Post #: 28
RE: The EmpireOnline Top 100 Albums 2011: THE RESULTS - 31/3/2011 11:26:27 PM   
Olaf


Posts: 23709
Joined: 26/2/2007
From: 41°N 93°W
02//
Radiohead
The Bends (1995)


'Thom Yorke popularised the angst-laden falsetto, a thoughtful opposite to the chest-beating lad-rock personified by Oasis's Liam Gallagher. Sounding girly to a backdrop of churning guitars became a much-copied idea, however, one which eventually coalesced into an entire decade of sound.' (The Observer)

'
On the title track, the roaring, soaring and tormented The Bends, Yorke finishes by singing "I want to live and breathe / I want to be part of the human race". Nice dream, Thom. The only thing is Yorke's wish hasn't got a chance of coming true if he persists in making records that resemble minor miracles and which only Gods can create.' (Hot Press)

'Forget about the fact that they look like the most unlikely heroes imaginable. Drag out the windswept photo locations, the leather trousers and the waiting list for the pantheon of great, great groups. Because all of a sudden, Radiohead are worthy of it all. Honestly.' (NME)



< Message edited by Olaf -- 31/3/2011 11:27:42 PM >

(in reply to Olaf)
Post #: 29
RE: The EmpireOnline Top 100 Albums 2011: THE RESULTS - 31/3/2011 11:36:57 PM  1 votes
Olaf


Posts: 23709
Joined: 26/2/2007
From: 41°N 93°W
01//
Arcade Fire
Funeral (2004)


'It's taken perhaps too long for us to reach this point where an album is at last capable of completely and successfully restoring the tainted phrase "emotional" to its true origin. Dissecting how we got here now seems unimportant. It's simply comforting to know that we finally have arrived.'
(Pitchfork)

'For all its permanent relevance and worldwide resonance, death still remains mostly shrouded in mystery - clawed at desperately by those who grieve looking for explanation, justification and recompense. The catharsis that emerges is essentially bile - an amalgam of our inability to accept and articulate loss. In the hands of artists however, catharsis becomes something altogether more beatific, something which can deconstruct death and rebuild it. This is the ethos of The Arcade Fire, and one which has made one of the most impressive and confident debuts of the year.'
(Drowned In Sound)

'Their masterstroke has been to invest this ironic, cool music with raw emotion.'
(The Guardian)

'The story the Arcade Fire tell on Funeral starts in the middle, in mid-sentence, a sign that the story is bigger than the music, began before it, and will continue after it... Funeral is a remarkable record, hard to hear at first, then hard to stop hearing.'
(The Village Voice)

'Funerals are generally somber affairs, but the Canadian indie rockers' emotionally charged 2004 debut mostly just made us smile. And, okay, mist up a little.'
(Entertainment Weekly)

(in reply to Olaf)
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