First, let me define what I consider to be a GREAT album; a ten out of ten. IMO a perfect album doesn’t have any stinkers.It cannot have a single track that is skippable. If I can play the album start to finish uninterrupted it is more likely to be one of my top ten favorite albums. In fact, important songs or albums SHOULD have some kind of memory or experience with which it is associated.
Total album sales have NOTHING to do with this list. This is purely subjective or for the younger folks, “IMO.” The order is semi-important, however, this list will shift over time. I tend to keep going back to these albums over and over again and when I do I listen to them over and over; It usually takes about a week of re-listening for me to be “done” with them.
So Here you go!
10. Pain – Midgets With Guns
Some of the most clever lyrics are found on this album. Also, this “sound” has a special place in my heart; this is the sound of the early to mid 90’s. This was even before I really got INTO music. I still rock this one for DAYS. (check out Milk, Fight, Square Pegs, Chuck Al Hashib)
9. Barenaked Ladies – Are Me
BNL has made a career of writing songs from every emotion in the book. This album proves they’ve matured as songwriters. They really put this one out from the heart. The silliness is still present but the humor is definitely passive in comparison to the arrangements of each track. And of course, their harmonies are top notch, as always. (check out Bull in a China Shop, Everything Had Changed, Take it Back and Easy)
8. Tool – Lateralus
This is one of my “OF COURSE” entrees. But honestly… there isn’t a bad song on this album, the replay value is through the roof and by the time the first track is done you can’t wait to hear it again. Not to mention Ticks and Leeches is generally the song people use to get other people into Tool that haven’t heard anything aside from whatever is on the radio. (check out Ticks and Leeches, The Grudge, Parabol and Parabola)
7. XTC – Apple Venus pt 1
Whenever I start this album I am completely consumed by the atmosphere it provides. It is comforting and off-putting at the same time. The arrangements and the production are some of the best I’ve ever heard. Just pop this one in and give it a solid 10 minutes. Or just jump to the few tracks that I recommend in particular. (these: Green Man, River Of Orchids, Your Dictionary)
6. Pink Floyd – The Wall
You really shouldn’t skip any song on this masterpiece. Put it in and listen to it like you’re sitting in the theater. Or… go find a copy of The Wall the movie and watch that if you haven’t. It’s been nearly 40 years. Get on that for crying out loud. (check out the whole thing. If you skip anything you’ll skip the point)
5. Ween – The Mollusk
First of all, Storm Thorgerson did the artwork (he generally did Pink Floyd album covers). RIP. Second: There is an obvious nautical theme throughout the album. Despite that theme they really do an awesome job of maintaining their prolific, genre-flipping reputation. I love these freaking songs. It’s Dean Ween’s favorite album too… so… there’s that. (check out Buckingham Green, I’ll Be Your Johnny On The Spot, Ocean Man and Cold Blows The Wind)
4. Faith No More – Angel Dust
This album blew me away the first time I heard it. I was supposed to drive somewhere but instead, I sat in a parking lot and listened to the whole thing right there. Jaw to the floor. Also, my mom got super pissed at me for owning it. Lol! (check out RV, Malpractice, Smaller and Smaller, Land of Sunshine)
3. Primus – Frizzle Fry
First album I ever bought with my own money. I was 13 or 14. I saw the album art and bought it because of that alone. I definitely owe a lot of my own musical interest and fascination to Primus. Thank you Les, Ler and Tim! (check out everything Primus as ever done)
2. King Crimson – Power To Believe
Though people tend to use “Court of the Crimson King” as a top contender… Power To Believe is King Crimson at their best. Now I’m a HUGE KC fan, so not to downplay any other album at all… I probably could have put any of their albums on this list but that’d be a boring list. Start to Finish. Level Five grabs you by the Pineal Gland and pulls you around like a can on the back of a newlywed’s getaway limousine. (check it out)
1. Mr. Bungle – California
I have a blog post about how Trevor Dunn sent me a PM (via MySpace). But that is not why this album is my #1. This album changed me. It set the standard for experimentation. For me, it is the holy grail of music collections. Every song is vastly different. I could probably talk about each track of this album in its own blog post. I’ll leave it right here and tell you to go listen to this entire thing. Not a bad song on this track.
Honorable Mentions: Rage Against The Machine (self titled), Oh Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack, Pendulum In Silico (there are a few songs I skip… but I absolutely love the others)