My 500 Favorite Albums of All Time, Day 14 – #61-70

For whatever reason, and I’m not sure why, I have experienced high pain days. Maybe, it’s the beginning of school doldrums, or it’s just my lot in life. I really don’t know, but I’d like to get over it. I thought a load or two of laundry would pull me out, but NOOOO! And, I got the very same no go from my favorite TV shows. Nothing seems to be filling the void, be it pain related or because of my annual heartache I experience since my body forced me to retire. Whatever it is, it’s not cool.

So, let’s just dive into the next ten albums as we inch closer to my all time favorite.

70. Weezer – Pinkerton (1996). When this album was released, initially, the critics were upset that this was not the second coming of the Blue Album, an exuberant 90s burst of power pop. Instead, many thought Weezer hit their sophomore slump. Although the music once again is a 90s take on power pop or better yet Cheap Trick, the lyrics are much more personal with a heavy dose of angst. However, over time, the reputation of Pinkerton grew as this very personal take on teen angst delivered via a power poppish/pop punkish sonic landscape became known as emo rock with bands such as Dashboard Confessional, Fall Out Boy, the initial version of Panic! At the Disco and so many others followed the Pinkerton formula. Now, the album is a classic, and Weezer should be a shoo-in for Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction soon.

69. The Beatles – The Beatles [a.k.a. The White Album] (1968). With this double album, the public were witness to the breaking down of the creative bond which held these four gentlemen together. Each side is given to one Beatle in which to indulge his muse while the others pretty perform as a backup band. All of a sudden we have four sides of solo Beatles as opposed to the world’s greatest band. While the experiment is widely successful, that success actually lays the groundwork for the upcoming breakup of the Fab Four. To me, this is the least Beatle of all The Beatles albums they released.

68. Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin IV [a.k.a. ZOSO] (1971). Quite possibly the granddaddy of all 70s albums. This album seemed so pervasive that I don’t remember too many of the people with whom I grew up NOT owning this album. Seriously! Out of my graduating class of about 300 students, I believe I knew six kids that never owned the album. Why was it so popular? “Stairway to Heaven,” “Black Dog” and “Rock and Roll” immediately come to mind for starters.

67. Bob Mould – Sunshine Rock (2019). When Mould released this solo album, he was about to enter his fourth decade of recording. Since the early days of the 20Teens, Bob had been in something of a creative renaissance. He had produced four solid albums and an excellent memoir. So, I wasn’t surprised that he did a little looking back and forth on this album to create what I feel just might be his definitive work to date. It’s as if he were covering every phase of his illustrious career with songs that could have been on a latter-day Hüsker Dü album, his acoustic solo debut, any of his Sugar LPs and EPs or his current solo albums. Next to a complete career overview, Sunshine Rock allows a listener to get to know every phase of Bob’s musical life in one place. Plus, the album got me through the last days of my mom’s life and the days after her death. So, the album will always hold a special place in my heart. Thanks Bob!

66. The Killers – Hot Fuss (2004). Back in 2004, my older son was in college. He had come home for some of his stuff that he wanted at school. While home, he had me a burned CD labeled “Hot Fuss – The Killers.” He said this new band will be in my new wave wheelhouse. Boy, was he ever correct. This band quickly became one of my favorite 21st century bands, although they may be more of a singles band now rather than an album band that their debut promised. The Killers had a sound that was steeped in The Cars but more modern. They were the right band at the right time for this old man. And, Hot Fuss is a flat-out excellent album.

65. Metallica – Metallica [a.k.a. The Black Album] (1991). When this album dropped in 1991, Metallica were poised to become the biggest metal band on the planet. On the eponymously titled album, Metallica toned down the thrash and wrote songs that were slightly more melodic. Some old fans cried sell-out! While the general public bought this album by the truckloads. This album also marked that Metallica were leaving their thrash metal days behind for a more lucrative classic hard rock sound. However, by taming the beast just a bit, producer Bob Rock discovered a terrific band with unparalleled musicianship.

64. Weezer – Weezer [a.k.a. The Blue Album] (1994). Released at the tail end of the third wave of power pop, this album proved to transcend that genre on the band’s way to becoming the Gen X version of Cheap Trick. Leader Rivers Cuomo proved to be a top-notch songsmith, writing songs full of off-kilter characters going through irony-dripping moments in life. This album was a breath of fresh air as grunge was running out of steam. Unfortunately, the album is held in such high regard that anything the band has done in its wake pales in comparison, which is a little unfair.

63. John Cougar Mellencamp – The Lonesome Jubilee (1987). After Springsteen and Petty, the battle for the Voice of America goes to a second tier of singer/songwriters of which Mellencamp is generally listed among. While many believe Scarecrow is his peak, I prefer this album over all others. Here Mellencamp begins a methodical transition from a rock minister espousing how rock & roll can save your life to a middle American troubadour. On The Lonesome Jubilee, John expands his excellent backup band to include some Appalachian instrumentation such as fiddles, accordions, banjos, dobros and the like to augment their Hoosier take on Stones-based rock music. This album sounds as if The Band and The Stones combined. And, no one has described what its like to be in your thirties and forties than Mellencamp did on “Cherry Bomb” and “Check It Out.”

62. Us – Achtung Baby (1991). In 1987, U2 finally conquered the States with their patented soaring stadium anthems of hope during a time of gloom. But, as their little experiment in American-influence on Rattle & Hum proved, it was time for them to change their approach a bit. So, the band took their trusty producers Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno to Berlin for a little make-over like Eno did for David Bowie in the mid-70s. What came out of that journey was nothing short of spectacular. The sincere U2 of their twenties were gone and replaced by a more jaded yet grounded U2 in their thirties. With those experiences influencing their music, the band incorporated irony and cynicism into their lyrics along with some musical and artistic touches of Dadaism. As we now know, the band’s popularity seemed to quadruple overnight in the aftermath of this album coupled with their amazing Zoo-TV Tour of 1991-93.

61. Jellyfish – Bellybutton (1990). As the 90s rolled around, I began to lament the loss of pure pop bands with Beatles and Beach Boys influences as The Bangles and Squeeze began to fade. Game Theory never really caught on with the public, and we were starting to hear the names of Nirvana, Soundgarden and Screaming Trees as I left Oxford, Ohio’s alternative rock radio station behind for the modified Top 40 and classic rock mixture of Central Indiana. Alas, I turn on MTV in the summer of 1990 and discover this new band called Jellyfish. And, I am drawn to their pure pop sound and sophisticated production. And you can hear all of my favorite touchstones in their music like Queen, Squeeze, Wings, Beatles, Beach Boys, et al. This was one tasty debut that continues to give back 30+ years later.

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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