The Top 100 Albums Of All Time (10-1)

And so the loooooooooong journey comes to an end. Are you as happy as I am? Truth be told, I did enjoy making this list and receiving feedback from you guys on the albums on my list. I found many of us have similar tastes in music. I love to talk about music. I am just unable to write about it.

But one cool thing did come from all of this: I received an email from one of the bands on the list who in turn sent me four discs of live material, demos, oddities, and rarities. Cool!

Once again, I'm using the following guidelines Norbizness set for himself:

  • One album per artist.
  • No greatest hits packages, compilations, or boxed sets.
  • No artists that would make me look hip or cool.
  • I must own the LP, CD, or cassette tape of every one of these entries. No mp3s.
Ok! Here's the moment all (some? one? none?) of you have been waiting for. Here's 10-1 (or what I like to call Alternative Music 101):

10. The Beatles Abbey Road (1969)
Want to know why I followed Norbizness' lead and only allowed one album per artist? Because every artist in my top ten would've had at least two albums on my list (with the except of the artist at #6, who only put out one album).

The Beatles would have probably earned at least three spots on my list. But Abbey Road is by far my favorite.

You've got Come Together, Something (one of George's most beautiful songs), Oh! Darling (the rawest Paul McCartney vocals ever), and the funny Maxwell's Silver Hammer. These four songs alone should give this album a spot on anyone's list. But the nine-song group that starts with You Never Give Me Your Money and ends with Her Majesty is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. I could listen to it over and over (and I have).

Favorite track: You Never Give Me Your Money / Sun King / Mean Mr. Mustard / Polythene Pam / She Came In Through The Bathroom Window / Golden Slumbers / Carry That Weight / The End / Her Majesty (yes, I count this as one song)

9. Cracker Kerosene Hat (1993)
I have professed my love of David Lowery already on this list and elsewhere on this site. I just love the alt-country (or whatever the hell you want to call it (I've never been good with labels) vibe this band puts out.

Everyone knows Kerosene Hat's Low. But in my opinion, Low is one of the weaker songs on this album. You had hard rockin' numbers like Movie Star and Get Off This and ballads like Kerosene Hat, Take Me Down To The Infirmary, and I Want Everything (the ballads were the strongest part of every Cracker release). But nothing came close to the epic Euro Trash Girl, the band's Stairway, which Cracker actually had the balls to bury on the album as a hidden track (#69).

Favorite Track: Euro Trash Girl

8. Public Enemy It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (1988)
This is the greatest hip hop/rap album ever by the greatest hip hop/rap group ever. End of discussion.

While everyone else was rapping about rapping and who's got the most skillz (and ultimately, the biggest prick), Chuck D. and crew were putting out music with a message. This album was a call to arms. It was revolutionary. It DEMANDED your attention. Hell, this album rocks harder than most rock albums put out today.

The beats are amazing and are accented with air sirens. But Chuck D.'s powerful baritone and political message are the real stars of the disc. Standout tracks include: Bring The Noise, She Watch Channel Zero?!, Night Of The Living Baseheads, and Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos (killer piano riff in this song).

There has never been another rap album like this.

And there never will be.

Favorite Track: Night Of The Living Baseheads

7. Pixies Doolittle (1989)
An alternative classic. The first grunge group. I can't tell you anything about this album that you don't already know. That you don't already feel. I love this album. I love this band.

But I can tell you something you might not know: on August 22, the band is releasing a DVD of an acoustic performance of twenty-two of their songs (hopefully a CD will follow).

Favorite Track: Debaser Wave Of Mutilation Here Comes Your Man Gouge Away Monkey Gone To Heaven

6. Sex Pistols Never Mind The Bollocks, Here's The Sex Pistols (1977)
Another angry, revolutionary album (sensing a theme here?), Never Mind The Bollocks was the most important punk album ever recorded. Rather ordinary music-wise, the album and band would be nothing without Johnny Rotten's witty, sarcastic, and venomous lyrics. We could all use a little Johnny Rotten inside of us (um, that didn't come out exactly right (but you know what I mean)).

Favorite Track: God Save The Queen

5. Violent Femmes Violent Femmes (1983)
I know lots of people hate Gordon Gano's voice. I happen to love it.

This album reminds me of high school. No album has ever captured the awkwardness of high school better than Violent Femmes. Topics include masturbation (Blister In The Sun), dealing with those who put you down (Kiss Off), unrequited love (Please Do Not Go and the stalkerish Prove My Love), and sex (Add It Up, Gimme The Car, and, well, most of the songs on this album).

Favorite Track: Kiss Off (was there any doubt on this one?)

4. Nirvana In Utero (1993)
I know. You think Nevermind is the superior Nirvana offering. But this is my list. Dig?

Faced with sudden success, most bands would have tried to recapture the lightning-in-a-bottle and released Nevermind II. But not Kurt Cobain. He released a rawer album that often bemoaned the success the band had achieved ("Teenage angst has paid off well, now I'm bored and old."). And he howled and wailed through all of the songs, like he was in pain.

Which he was.

Every Nirvana release would've been in my Top 100. Whereas it's probably a good thing that the Sex Pistols burned out after one album, I wish Nirvana had stuck around a lot longer. But you knew it wouldn't happen. All you had to do was listen to the amazing lyrics (Dumb, All Apologies, Pennyroyal Tea, and especially Milk It).

Favorite Track: All Apologies

3. Jane's Addiction Nothing's Shocking (1988)
It takes me three to four hours to write each one of these installments. You know why? Because as I'm writing, I'll pull out the discs and put them on the stereo. And then I'll start listening. And then about half and hour later, I remember I'm supposed to be writing about the music, not listening to it. And then I write a bunch of mindless nonsense.

I listened to Nothing's Shocking in its entirety before I remembered I was supposed to be writing about it.

This is an album I feel never gets the credit it deserves (right up to getting their Grammy stolen by Jethro Tull (WTF?)). This was a groundbreaking album with many different styles present. It was one of the greatest albums of the 80s. Stephen Perkins, Eric Avery, and Dave Navarro were all incredible musicians (I think Dave Navarro was seven years old when they recorded this album). And then there's the extremely unique voice of Perry Farrell.

Dig this disc out and give it another listen. It's amazing.

Favorite Track: the epic Ted, Just Admit It... (but Pig's In Zen is very close second)

2. Guns N' Roses Appetite for Destruction (1987)
Everyone already knows all they want to know about this album. I'm not going to change anyone's mind. Blah blah blah.

They released this album when I was 17. I remember being blown away the very first time I head it. Axl's voice, Slash's guitar, it was all so raw. It was an amazing record. Rebellion. Excess. It became the soundtrack to my senior year in high school.

Favorite Track: Rocket Queen


Before I get to the number one album on my list, I'd like to thank everyone who tried to guess its identity. Since no one guessed it correctly (hell, no one even guessed the artist), I am planning on holding another contest on Monday (where there WILL be a winner (as long as someone enters)). I feel it's the least I can do for making you put up with this navel-gazing bullshit for the past six weeks (yes, it has taken me that long).

Here are the incorrect guesses I received:

Beastie Boys Paul's Boutique
The Beatles Revolver
The Beatles The White Album
Ben Folds Five Whatever and Ever Amen
Bon Jovi Slippery When Wet
Cake Fashion Nugget
The Clash London Calling
Cracker Kerosene Hat
Def Leppard Pyromania
Guns N' Roses Appetite For Destruction (many guessed this one)
Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin IV
Michael Jackson Bad
Michael Jackson Thriller
Journey Escape
Letters To Cleo Aurora Gory Alice
Nivrana Nevermind
Pearl Jam Ten
Pink Floyd Dark Side Of The Moon
Pixies Doolittle
Prince Purple Rain
Queensryche Operation Mindcrime
Radiohead OK Computer
The Replacements Tim
Rolling Stones Exile On Main Street
Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood Fairy Tales & Fantasies
The Smiths Meat is Murder
The Smiths The Queen Is Dead
Matthew Sweet Altered Beast
Van Halen Women And Children First
Velvet Underground Loaded
Violent Femmes Violent Femmes
The Who Quadrophenia

But like I said, no one guessed my #1 album, which is...

1. Nine Inch Nails The Downward Spiral (1994)
Having a bad day? Put this disc in your car's CD player, roll down the windows, and S-C-R-E-A-M.

This is such an amazing (and that's the 4,319th time I've used that word in describing albums (time to invest in a thesaurus)) album. A loose-concept album, almost every song on The Downward Spiral features layers upon layers of sounds (except the bare-bones closer, Hurt). This is the Wall of Sound. Although topics like religion and sex are featured on the album, the main themes are pain, misery, and depression.

I bought this album at midnight on the day it was released (do they still have midnight sales when B-I-G albums are released?). I think I stayed up until six in the morning listening to it.

Favorite Track: Mr. Self Destruct

So there you have it. My Top 100 Albums Of All Time. Hope you enjoyed it.

So who's ready to tackle movies with me?

Just kidding.