And so the journey continues. I wonder if this list exposes anything about my psyche which might require therapy....
On to the list
#80 - The Donnas - The Donnas Turn 21
YES! These chicks ROCK! A complete guilty pleasure. I don't care how self-conscious and contrived their raunchiness or craziness is, I think they wear it well. All crunchy-sweet goodness. Favorite Song = "Living After Midnight" (yes, a Judas Priest cover, but done well)
#79 - The Chieftains - Long Black Veil
I went on an Celtic music kick a few years back after spending waaaaaaaaay too much time at some traditional Irish pubs. The Chieftains are pretty much the Celtic band to anyone who doesn't riverdance. But it's not all fiddles and bodhráns...they got a bunch of guest stars (a gimmick I usually despise) and managed to marry them to traditional tunes in an amazingly accessible way. Look past Van Morrison and Sinead O'Connor (obligatory Irish choices) and check out Mick Jagger on the title track and Sting on the opener...shockingly beautiful. Favorite Song = "The Coast of Malabar"
#78 - Michael Jackson - Thriller
A year ago this wouldn't have made the list. Come on...the most over-exposed pale-faced pedophile on the planet? Well, thanks to the magic of iPod's shuffle feature, though, "P.Y.T." popped into my headphones while riding the subway, and holy crap was that funky. There's a reason this album sold 2,476,528 ba-billion copies...it's awesome! Aside from that ridiculous duet with Paul "Hey, Give Me Back My Rights to the Beatles" McCartney, it's rock-solid...something for everybody. Favorite Song = "Billy Jean"
#77 - The Cure - Staring at the Sea
Technically, I'm yet again breaking rule #2, since this is a compilation of The Cure's early tracks and non-LP singles. But it's the only Cure album I've ever owned or wanted to own. I still get a little creeped out by Robert Smith's gothic-persona, and annoyed by all the kids at my high school who dressed like him and applied eye make-up with a paint-roller, but there's so many great little gems on this disk that are just a little "off." Favorite Song = "Close to Me"
#76 - The Verve - Urban Hymns
Vast, sweeping trance-like excursions into the grandest pop-balladry you're likely to hear. The songs will start with an understated moment then slowly rise to majestically sweep you up. It's tragic that the band couldn't stay together past this album, but what a way to end. Favorite Song = "Sonnet"
#75 - John Coltrane - Blue Train
I could do an entirely separate list on jazz, and maybe some day I will. You can close your eyes and zero in on a single instrument in the soundscape--a trumpet a bass, a saxophone--and hear how organically it interplays with the rhythms and the greater whole. Any music 101 course should have a required dissertation on John Coltrane, and this is where I'd start. Favorite Song = "Blue Train"
Dude, you guys HAVE to check this album out. It's a Latin tribute to Kraftwerk, but the looser Latin rhythms and horns open up the robotic arrangements, creating fun (and improved) versions of songs like "Showroom Dummies" and "Trans Europe Express." I can't recommend this album enough...so freakin' fun. Favorite Song = "Showroom Dummies"
#73 - The Eagles - Hotel California
"Hotel California" was my favorite song for about...oh, I don't know....a gazillion years. The creepy, surreal lyrics, Don Henleys distinctive vocals, and that ridiculous Joe Walsh guitar solo, still give me chills. But if one song were enough to put this album in my top 100, then Moontan by Golden Earring would be here, too (I've got a thing that's called "Radar Love"....!) Thankfully the rest of the album has some of their best, most consistent music, especially "Wasted Time." Favorite Song = "Hotel California" (For some reason the Eagles aren't on iTunes, but this version is pretty sweet, too)
#72 - Belle & Sebastian - If You're Feeling Sinister
Another band I discovered late. The first time I heard them I described them as "background music," but I've really started digging this album the last couple of years. It's very "pretty," which is also something I don't usually like, but it feels timeless, like it could be the soundtrack to a period romance or a saturday morning walk of shame. The lyrics are both whimsical and biting, like that wink you give when you're teasing someone...but not really. I don't know...that doesn't make sense, but whatever. It's good. Favorite Song = "Seeing Other People"
#71 - Tom Waits - Closing Time
My absolute favorite album when it's midnight and you're just home from the bar (after 3 AM it switches to Dusk by The The, but I'm rarely up that late nowadays). It's the ultimate smokey piano bar record, each song brimming with a quiet dignity that that evokes the resolve and vulnerability of lonely night owls. Compared to his later albums, which sounds like Cheeky banging pots together after having smoked all of North Carolina, this is like a different singer. A quiet masterpiece. Favorite Song = "I Hope That I Don't Fall in Love With You"
Whew...three down! And we're not even over the hump yet! I'm sure p-man is disappointed that Winger and White Lion haven't made an appearance (just you wait, buddy) but hopefully you're enjoying the self-indulgence so far. More in a couple of days...