1001 Albums (21-40)

Here are albums 21-40 that the 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die website presented me. See albums 1-20 here.

Having got through 40 albums over 40 weeks, I'm actually enjoyig the experience - I'm listening to stuff that in some cases I've not played before, and I usually play the album three times. There's one exception to that in this posting - the Aerosmith album.

Has the exercise opened my ears to new albums? Well, partly - I've bought at least two of the 40, and several have been added to my Qobuz favourites. Probable evidence for an open mind?

21. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles (1967)

Sgt Pepper LP sleeveThere's not much left to be said for this album. A total bona fide classic, it was one of the, if not *the*, album which set out the possibilities of the recording studio.

The songs are top notch. It would be churlish to rate this at anything less than 5. But... I personally find some of the more music hall styles songs rather mawkish. Maybe I've just been exposed to this album for too many decades!

Anyway, I went for a rating of 5/5 which I think is not unreasonable.


22. Bossanova by Pixies (1990)

Bossanova LP sleeve

Over the years, the Pixies have grown on me, and this is rather a standout album with great sound, though of course their 'loud-quiet-loud' song structure can grate a bit.





23. This Year's Model by Elvis Costello (1978)

This Year's Model LP sleeveHere backed by The Attractions, Costello's second studio album. One of the Stiff Records roster, Costello emerged on the back of the pub rock and then punk explosion and on into the post-punk era and then onwards into major league start status, all of the back of exceptional song craft.

This is a fine album, stand out tracks for me are '(I Don't Want To Go To) Chelsea' and 'Pump It Up', but the whole album is great.


24. 90 by 808 State (1989)

90 album sleeve I don't think this album has aged well. I generally like electronic music (including ambient, techno etc), but this one leaves me a bit cold. I have a couple of more recent collaborative Graham Massey albums that I very much prefer.




25. Dig Your Own Hole by the Chemical Brothers (1997)

Dig your own hole lp sleeveAnother LP that largely passed me by at the time. I like this, but not enough to lift it above a middle score.





26. Licensed To Ill by The Beastie Boys (1986)

Licensed to Ill LP sleeveI didn't much like The Beastie Boys back in the day, and having listened to this album several times my opinion has not changed. Essentially this is three whiny ranty kids bellyaching over nicely produced beats, and enlivened by some nice samples.
I found myself enjoying the samples more than the Beastie Boys. Now to go and listen to some Led Zeppelin!
I'd be quite happy not to listen to this album again.


27. The Kinks Are The Village Preservation Society (1968)

Village gree lp sleeveThis is an album that I have listened to before without it gaining a strong appreciation.

After it popped up in 1001 albums, I played it several times.I still don't get why it is regarded so highly, it seems like a workman-like collection of songs. Critics have praised the song writing, but I don't see particularl strength in the lyrics. It's nice to see an England-focussed set of songs.

In the end, I think this isn't an album I'd add to my collection, and wouldn't be something I'd play very often.


28. Steve McQueen by Prefab Sprout (1985)

Steve McQueen LP sleeveWhen this album came out in 1985, I thought it sounded like posh hotel lounge bar music (except for the first track ('Faron Young'). I

've played it a number of times over the years, mostly because of critical acclaim, but I'm afraid my opinion has not changed after three more plays this morning. Maybe I just don't get it.



29. Crossing The Red Sea With The Adverts by The Adverts (1978)

The adverts lp sleeveI think this album was one of the early UK punk albums. It's interesting the way T.V. Smith's vocals are so clear, if a little mannered - at a time when (at least according to my memory) many of their contemporaries produced a full-n onslaught. The album is full of good songs. 'One Chord Wonders' is great, though maybe comes across as a bit self-absorbed. the real standout song is 'Gary Gilmore's Eyes', though I think that wasn't on the original album release (it's on the expanded edition available via Qobuz). A really fun listen.


30. Green by R.E.M (1988)

Some albums are slow growers. For me, this is one of those. I bought this album shortly after release, but it was never an instant favourite. However it has grown on me over the years.





31. The Wall by Pink Floyd (1979)

This is the last Pink Floyd album I bought and for me really marked the beginning of the end for them as a band. I bought it at release and liked it, but with passage of time I came to think it's pretty dull stuff with continued navel gazing about pressures of upbringing and success. Not something I listen to very often.




32. The Nightfly by Donald Fagen ()

Oh gosh, this album is the antithesis of all that I like about popular music. To my ears this is just horrible. I've played the album three times and it is so bland, smooth and unengaging with uninteresting autobiographical lyrics. This is music for people who don't want to listen, but to have it as background music. I hope never to listen to this again.




33. Figure 8 by Elliott Smith

I hadn't come across Elliott Smith before being presented with this album by the 1001 albums website. On first play, it came across as a pleasant enough record. On second play, it still came across as a pleasant enough record. After three plays I concluded this was a reasonable output for a 'singer/songwriter', and that I'd leave it at that.




34. Document by R.E.M.

Document lp sleeveIt's another R.E.M album! It's OK. Played several times, it's a bit of a grower I think.






35. For Your Pleasure by Roxy Music (1973)

For Your Pleasure LP sleeveThis is a fantastic album, every track is a winner, though standouts include 'Do The Strand' and 'In Every Home...' Sadly this was the last Roxy Music album with the great Brian Eno.





36. Cloud Nine by The Temptations

Cloud NineAnother album by The Temptations - the second in the 36 albums so far. I've played it three or four times this morning. This is a pleasant enough record to listen to, but I'm not very clear what elevates this to the 1001 records list. Perhaps if I knew more about soul music I'd see some significance that escapes me.




37. Harvest by Neil Young

HarvestI dislike country-inflected rock and pop, and I don't care for Neil Young's voice (sorry!). So this album sits well outside my usual envelope of taste. the only track on the album I knew before I played it was 'Heart of Gold', and that irritates me. I did like 'The Needle and the Damage Done".





38. Highly Evolved by The Vines

Highly EvolvedAnother album new to me! Nice to hear the garage band influences here (I can hear The Beatles in at least one song) though to my ears this doesn't quite convince. So, a good listen, but not an album I'll come back to.





39. Pump by Aerosmith

PumpHorrible. This is crass, sexist and just unpleasant.






40. Schmilsson by Nilsson

Nilsson SchmilssonWell, this is a pretty smooth album of songs. It's inoffensive. I think the standout track is 'Without You'. The low point is 'Coconut'.
Overall, I prefer my music to be a bit edgier than this.

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