Friday, July 08, 2005

Unlike Spin Magazine, I have little or no idea what the best discs of the past 20 years are.

My days of buying the latest and greatest are long in the past and mostly what I buy today is old. Last weekend I bought an Ornette Coleman record that came out when I was three. Before that, a Kinks record, and one by Mott the Hoople, and the first New York Dolls. My music dollars are like my book dollars: they go to things I should have already consumed by now.

Having said that, here is my own list of great music released in the past couple of decades. My criteria went as follows:

* Only one record only per artist. I could come up with more, but that tends to lower the interest level somewhat, and it forces you to choose the best. Frankly, I don’t know if I’d use this same standard if we were doing the greatest albums of the 1960s, as several records by Dylan, the Stones, and the Beatles would have to be included.

*I must love it. That’s why I gave up on coming up with a hundred, because I don’t really see the point in including records that are “fine” or “okay.” There aren’t a hundred records in the past twenty years that I regularly play (which is not to say there weren’t a hundred made.) The best test of a record, really, is how often it pulls you back. As a result, I scrapped a lot of very cool, hip, with-it choices. No Tori Amos, no Pavement, no Lou Reed, no Husker Du, and God so help me no Belle and Sebastian.

It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back - Public Enemy
What a Life! -- Divinyls
Live Through This -- Hole
Nevermind -- Nirvana
Daydream Nation -- Sonic Youth
To Bring You My Love -- P.J. Harvey
Rain Dogs -- Tom Waits
Time Out of Mind -- Bob Dylan
69 Love Songs -- The Magnetic Fields
Lone Justice - Lone Justice
Extinction Level Event -- The Final World Front -- Busta Rhymes
Achtung Baby -- U2

Odelay - Beck
Holdin' Back the Years -- Jimmy Lee Scott
Crowded House
Licensed to Ill -- Beastie Boys
Raising Hell -- Run-DMC
Robbie Robertson -- Robbie Robertson
Living Colour -- Vivid
Truth and Soul -- Fishbone
The Trinity Session -- Cowboy Junkies
Diesel and Dust -- Midnight Oil
Sparkle and Fade -- Everclear
You? Me? Us? -- Richard Thompson
When I Was Born for the Seventh Time -- Cornershop
Homogenic -- Bjork
Elephant -- White Stripes
Life's Rich Pageant -- R.E.M.
Greendale -- Neil Young & Crazy Horse
Yankee Hotel Foxtrot -- Wilco
Is This It? -- The Strokes
The Hardest Part - Allison Moorer
Things Fall Apart - The Roots
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill - Lauryn Hill
OK Computer -- Radiohead
Siamese Dream - Smashing Pumpkins
Apollo 18 - They Might Be Giants
Angel Dust - Faith No More
Use Your Illusion 1&2 - Guns n’ Roses
What Up Dog? - Was (Not Was)
Tim - The Replacements
Sign o the Times -- Prince
Tunnel of Love - Bruce Springsteen
Nobody’s Cool -- Lotion


guile said...

elephant.. that is one good record..

Dan Wickett said...

Wow, Raising Hell? That's a tough call for me, but I'd have to go with the original, plain old Run DMC, just to make sure I had Rock Box, It's Like That and Hard Times.

With Tim, did you split the middle between Let it Be and Pleased to Meet Me, or was it no contest?

GNR is another I have to take the first album - absolutely no fat on that one - just cut after cut after cut.

I love the taste though and agree wholeheartedly with SOTT and Prince.

Agree with both you and guile in re: elephant - 'one good record' about sums it up.