Is it just me or does it feel like I've been counting this down since mastadons roamed the plains? But we're soooo close, aren't we? On to the list....
#20 - Ben Folds - Rockin' the Suburbs
Give credit where credit is due; if you can write perfect pop songs, you should be given some major props. And Ben knows how to write pop songs. Really good ones. It started with one song (I think it was "Army") which I found on a compilation, and within a couple weeks I had every CD Ben had ever put out. Even Oodgie likes him, and she has terrible taste in music. (Hi honey! Love you!) And this one is his finest...incredibly piano work underscoring witty, intelilligent and well-grounded observations of the suburbs, office life, and growing up. Favorite Song = "Annie Waits"
#19 - Led Zeppelin - Zeppelin I
I wish I could have been around in 1969 when this album first came out. How do you react when you're hearing the birth of a genre? Behold, hard rock has arrived! It must have blown some minds. The Zeppelin canon is so rich you can hardly go wrong, but for my money this is still their best. It's the blueprint for heavy metal, with crushing blues and pummeling choruses. Favorite Song = "Good Times, Bad Times"
#18 - Urge Overkill - Saturation
These guys should have become SUPERSTARS with this album. Every song is a killer! The band imploded not long after this came out, which is a shame because if they'd stuck it out a while longer you'd all be humming their tunes and maybe we could have avoided that whole N*Sync/Backstreet Boy era. Favorite Song = "Positive Bleeding"
#17 - Rolling Stones - Sticky Fingers
I've heard this album described as "weary," which I agree with. Every song, although excellent, has the feel of an exhausted, blue-collar laborer sprawled out on a couch either lazily contemplating his life or lashing out at life's injustice. "Sister Morphine" is dark and desperate, and "Brown Sugar" is the best paean to interracial...romance...to ever get significant airplay. Good stuff after a long day slogging through...ok, in front of a computer. Take what you can get. Favorite Song = "Dead Flowers"
#16 - Nick Drake - Five Leaves Left
Thank you, Volkswagon, for exposing me to music that the limited radio stations of my youth never bothered with. Whoever put "Pink Moon" in that commercial did a huge favor to Nick Drake's myth (and his estate, I assume). Of course, "Pink Moon" isn't on this album (it's on Pink Moon, duh!) but it was through that that I found this, his debut. Holy cow, is this a stunner. Reflective, beautifully crafted, and utterly engaging. I was hooked from the first intro chords of "Time Has Told Me," and I've never tired of it. Favorite Song = "Saturday Sun"
#15 - Green Day - Dookie
Admit it...the first time you ever heard "Longview" you thought to yourself, "Yeah, I've been that bored." I was always that bored, and that song became my mid-20s anthem. But how good was this album? So freakin' good! The neighbors in my apartment building heard this album a LOT. Along with Blind Melon & the Counting Crows these guys redefined my listening tastes for almost a decade, shaking me out of my grunge-induced stupor into a world were you could still make great music without sounding like you were hiding under a blanket. And the breakneck pace of their tunes still make me want to jump and kick (nicely...not at anyone). Favorite Song = "She"
#14 - AC/DC - Powerage
Did I already mention that AC/DC was specifically named in my wedding vows? They were...twice. We wrote our own vows, and I made some reference to air-guitaring to AC/DC, either asking for pre-emptive forgiveness or simply stating that she'd better get used to it. Oodgie, to my surprise and delight, proceeded to her vows and said, "I love you for your bizarre taste in music, although I don't think AC/DC is gonna happen for me." I consider that a triumph...even the unconverted must acknowledge their power! Nothing makes me happier than an AC/DC song. Well, maybe ice cream, but it's close. And any good AC/DC fan knows that Bon Scott, RIP, not Brian Johnson, shall forever be their lead singer. "Down-Payment Blues" has the best chord progression in the history of ever (even Slash agrees) and tunes like "Sin City", "Kicked in the Teeth", and "What's Next to the Moon" are incredible rockers. Classic. Favorite Song = "What's Next to the Moon"
#13 - Rage Against the Machine - Rage Against the Machine
Never has a band's name so appropriately fit everything they sound like and stand for. If I ever need to psyche myself up for something, like an inteview or Fight Club, then this is what I use. A perfect distillation of anger in musical form. And it rocks and it's awesome and FUCK YOU I won't do what you tell me! Favorite Song = "Killing in the Name"
#12 - Fleetwood Mac - Rumours
Any arguments on this one? Seriously, if you don't realize by now that this is one of the most amazing albums ever recorded you're crazy and have never actually listened to it. So there. Moving on... Favorite Song = "Go Your Own Way"
#11 - Dire Straits - Making Movies
I had a roommate in college who was obsessed with Eric Clapton. Constantly constantly constantly playing his stuff. I used to needle him by saying I thought Mark Knopfler was a better guitarist, which would immediately set him off on some esoteric tangent that I couldn't follow. Fact is, I DO think Mark Knopfler is better; he's more distinctive and a better story-teller. Except maybe for "Les Boys" there's not a weak track on here, all lyrically rich and skillfully produced. Favorite Song = "Romeo and Juliet"
According to my calculations I currently have one music entry left, currently scheduled for next Tuesday. Are those cheers from those of you breathlessly awaiting the top 10, or the ones who are sick and tired of me prattling on about music when you came here for Cheeky-related mayhem? As long as you're happy...