Welcome fans to Day 4 of this special countdown of the albums that have played the most important part of my life. They music on these long-players may have gotten me through difficult periods of my life or they introduced me to new sounds. Regardless, all of these LPs deserve some recognition from me, and the creative artists deserve a big “Thanks” from me. Sorry about the cheesy opening paragraph! I’m being influenced by the cheesy bubblegum music I am currently listening to. Hang on! I’m going to put on something more like the music on my list, such as an actual album from the list.
With the creative music changed (I must say, Jellyfish makes a better writing companion), let’s get on with today’s countdown.
31. Pixies – Doolittle (1988). During those heady days when my favorite alternative bands just began to make a dent on the Billboard charts, this Boston band popped up and stole my ears. Truthfully, if you want to hear where Nirvana got their idea to alternate a quiet verse with a loud chorus, this is the album they got the idea from. There is nothing like the cathartic release of a loud chorus after quiet verse. It just increases the intensity of the song, even if it is about a “Monkey’s Gone to Heaven”.
32. The Police – Zenyatta Mondatta (1980). This album broke The Police here in the States. And even though it was the third album of theirs I owned, it was the first one that I played all of the time. “De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da” is a great pop song; while, Sting showed us his dark side with the Lolita-influenced “Don’t Stand So Close to Me”. Personally, I love “When the World Is Running Down, You Make the Best of What’s Still Around” for its lack of succinctness.
33. Prince – 1999 (1982). This is Prince’s SECOND masterpiece, but it was the first one to get radio airplay in the Indy market. Plus, it was such a great album, that I actually began to listen to his protégés, The Time and Vanity 6. This is the album that made me the obsessed Prince-ophile I am today. B-sides, 12-inch singles, Prince-penned songs, I had to collect them now because of 1999.
34. Queen – A Night at the Opera (1975). This was the first album to incorporate the camp of the Batman TV series with the bombast of a KISS album all sung by a guy who could have been teaching one of my mom’s master’s degree art classes that I accompanied her to. This was the best well to rebel against so many things and people at the same thing. Everyone should get to have a band like Queen pop into their lives.
35. Ramones – Ramones (1976). This is the official ground zero album for the New York City punk scene. But, not only that, it was ground zero for many people my age to become punk fans alone. Look at this list of artists who wanted to “Beat the Brat”: The Clash, Sex Pistols, Motörhead, Poison, the whole new wave scene, Husker Du, et al. When one album is able to building a community for the misfits, nonconformists and revolutionaries, God bless ’em.
36. Raspberries – Raspberries (1972). I loved “Go All the Way” back when I was a small lad, but never understood the lyrics I was caterwauling at the time. Later, after Cheap Trick popped in my life, I searched for the band’s influences, which lead me to Cleveland’s Raspberries. And I was hooked!
37. R.E.M. – Murmur (1983). I remember hearing R.E.M. for the first time and not believing what I was hearing. Could it really be possible that this band was so confident in themselves that their vocals were being positioned as an instrument and not a method of intellectual influencing. Plus, they brought back The Byrds’ 12-string guitar sound. And there was so much more to love their music. This was an alternative to alternative music that sounded like it was true classic rock without being classic rock. You dig?
38. The Replacements – Let It Be (1984). The third artist of the Minneapolis musical triune god, with Prince and Hüsker Dü being the others. What the ‘Mats brought to this table was a drunken professionalism to their playing not seen since the Faces while clobbering the listener over the head with their version of Tom Petty populism. On this album, the band melded a KISS cover (“Black Diamond”), an ode to male horniness (“Gary’s Got a Boner”) and a call-to-arms for Gen X-ers everywhere (“I Will Follow”). Everyone loves sloppy rock and The ‘Mats bring it in spades.
39. The Rolling Stones – Some Girls (1978). I did not enter the Stones’ world of rock music until 1978, when they released what many say is their last classic album. But, if you are going to be turned onto the Glimmer Twins’ music late, this is a great album to become a fan of the band, especially with songs like “Miss You”,”Beast of Burden”, and the jam of my Class of ’81 “Shattered”. And, there could have been many more hits pulled from the album that amazing too.
40. Todd Rundgren – Something/Anything? (1972). This double album displayed the Runt’s prowess in all areas of rock. Of course, he self-produced it. And, he wrote everything, from hard rockers to power poppers to blue-eyed soul love songs. I became a fan of Todd after hearing this album. When an album sports “I Saw the Light” and “Hello, It’s Me”, you know it’s a masterpiece.
Now, we have 40 albums complete, and only ten more to go, I have enjoyed opening myself up to everyday. Plus, it allows me to go back in time and rediscover the magic of these masterful classics. See you tomorrow…on a Saturday, no less. God bless you all!