25 More Albums That Every Music Lover Should Own But Might Not Have Heard

So, all of you 30-, 40- and 50-somethings who read this blog, I am gearing this more toward you guys. All you millennials, just bare with us fogies as I try to get some of them up-to-date. So, here are what I call my off-the-beaten-path 25 albums everyone should own. I am listing them once again in chronological order.

  1. Love – Forever Changes (1967). If an album ever foreshadowed the comings of Sly & the Family Stone, the Parliament/Funkadelic Thang and Prince, it was Arthur Lee and his racially-integrated folk/rock/funk psychedelic bandmates Love on this their second album. Hearing is believing, and I recommend it for everyone.
  2. Funkadelic – Maggot Brain (1971). This is what happens when a father of funk wants to reach for more and decides his band is talented enough to become a rock band. George Clinton shows on this album how he is the Frank Zappa of the African-American community. Or, is it the other way around.
  3. Randy Newman – Sail Away (1972). Randy Newman took rock music in directions that no one could anticipate as well as making sarcastic sociological and political observations about the world around him. And, it’s all set to beautiful music.
  4. Raspberries – Raspberries (1972). Yes, I have been talking about this band for a very long time, but another reminder would always do some good. Some surgery power pop for one of the greats. It all started here.
  5. Van Morrison – It’s Too Late to Stop Now (1973). When one of the greatest white soul artists decides to pull out all the stops in concert, you get this great live album of Celtic Soul.
  6. Paul Simon – Still Crazy After All These Years (1975). Sure, Simon isn’t a rocker in the sense of rock today, but he has always been something of a poetic prophet. And, this is his forgotten great statement.
  7. Kraftwerk – The Man Machine (1978). Four Germans embrace synthesizers and creates the aura that they are androids. It was a brilliant disguise.
  8. Joe Jackson – Look Sharp! (1979). Jackson initially had the angry young man persona that Elvis Costello was using as well. Jackson took the shtick as far as possible before moving first into other genres that influenced Costello to follow suit.
  9. David Bowie – Scary Monsters…and Super Creeps (1980). Oh, Bowie gets kudos for his Ziggy Stardust, Thin White Duke & the drugged out Englishman in Berlin personas, when in 1980 he combined all of these into one great music creator on this album.
  10. Rick James – Street Songs (1981). Just before Prince came on the scene, James brought his punk-funk vision to completion on this album. After that, Prince picked up the ball and ran with it. “Temptations! Sing!”
  11. Squeeze – East Side Story (1981). We nearly got a Lennon and McCartney for our generation with Difford and Tilbrook’s fantastic songs found on this album. No, they didn’t write “Tempted”, but the other songs are what gives this album its depth.
  12. Dire Straits – Love Over Gold (1982). This album was the one released before the band took over the world. Everyone has forgotten what a terrific band Dire Straits was, and, to me, this was their greatest statement.
  13. Minutemen – Double Nickels on the Dime (1984). Now, this is one can be challenging for most. Yet, you can hear bits of jazz, punk and rock mixed in this terrific brand of alternative music that took Black Flag, Dead Kennedys, Camper Van Beethoven, Hüsker Dü and R.E.M. and turned it upside down, sideways, and all around to create this new brand of alternative music. Too bad lead guitarist and singer D. Boon lost his life tragically in a car accident.
  14. The Replacements – Let It Be (1984). If R.E.M. were the Beatles of the Eighties College Rock scene, then the Replacements represented The Rolling Stones in this analogy. The Mats were a drunken mess live, but Paul Westerberg’s songs cut to the soul and psyche of early Gen X starting on this album.
  15. The Dukes of Stratosphear – Psonic Psunspot (1986). After XTC got done recording Skylarking, they decided to pay homage the English psychedelia of the Sixties, such as early Pink Floyd to such great success that the band quietly had the best year of any artist of the Eighties.
  16. The Smiths – The Queen Is Dead (1986). This is The Smiths’ masterpiece. At the time, many were referring to The Smiths as the English version of R.E.M. Now, Morrissey has his voice and Johnny Marr has perfected his guitar sound. Now, The Smiths were ready to take over the world.
  17. XTC – Skylarking (1986). Like I said earlier, no artist really had as creative of a year as these guys. This Todd Rundgren-produced album was the band homage to Sgt. Pepper, but it ended up becoming so much more than that. It is an exquisite album about British life.
  18. Janet Jackson – Rhythm Nation 1814 (1989). Miss Jackson took the Minneapolis Sound to new militaristic heights on this album. Jackson and co-producers Terry Lewis and Jimmy Jam created a funky pop world for the new Jackson star to boogey to new heights.
  19. Jellyfish – Bellybutton (1990). Who knew that the perfect pop album would be created by a new band. They took learned their lessons from The Beatles, Squeeze, Queen and everyone else to concoct this fantastic album.
  20. Sufjan StevensIllinois (2005). This neo-folk album was Stevens’ greatest statement about his home state. It is full of characters and places that only a Midwesterner would understand.
  21. Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes (2008). When this beautiful album was released, critics were saying this was the comeback of CSNY-styled harmonies. Too bad that comparison undersold what you heard on this intricately produced album. What a statement for a debut album.
  22. Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010). Oh sure, everyone knows Kanye, but do you really know this album? Drake’s gotta thank this album for his career.
  23. Bon Iver – Bon Iver (2011). So Fleet Foxes opened the door for this artist, no one was ready for this magical gift of an album. You won’t believe your ears when you hear this one.
  24. D’Angelo & the Vanguard – Black Messiah (2014). D’Angelo took his Prince-ly fixations and made them his own on this jazz-like R&B masterpiece with a Black Power statement for the ages.
  25. Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp a Butterfly (2015). It seemed as if Lamar took D’Angelo as his jumping off point to take hip hop into a newer realm that deals with the issues facing Black America in a much more meaningful manner than had ever been set to music. This was the voice of Black Lives Matter set to music

So, there you have it! My other 25 albums that you need in your collection. Enjoy the music!

Author: ifmyalbumscouldtalk

I am just a long-time music fan who used to be a high school science teacher and a varsity coach of several high school athletic teams. Before that, I worked as a medical technologist at three hospitals in their labs, mainly as a microbiologist. I am retired/disabled (Failed Back Surgery Syndrome), and this is my attempt to remain a human. Additionally, I am a serious vinyl aficionado, with a CD addiction and a love of reading about rock history. Finally, I am a fan of Prince, Cheap Trick, Tom Petty, R.E.M., Hall & Oates, Springsteen, Paul Weller & his bands and Power Pop music.

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