The completely subjective list by me (which means it’s right) of the 10 best records ever
Pink Floyd, The Dark Side of the Moon: every step that Pink Floyd took, from the tragic departure of leader and crazed genius Syd Barret, was aiming towards this, the masterful concept album that dug into the pressures of normal life remains unsurpassed to this day, all killer, no filler, and massively influential since it was released.
The Velvet Underground, The Velvet Underground and Nico: nobody can touch the Velvets legacy, their mastery over about every genre, and their incalculable influence on about everything that’s sounding both in your radio and outside of it, a sui generis band if there was ever one, their debut can well be the most prophetic album ever made, this is the seed that originated the forest, and 40 plus years after the fact, its power is yet to diminish.
Joy Division, Unknown Pleasures: outside of its time and space, alienating, terrifying, bleak and yet fragile in the most human way, Unknown Pleasures is a startling, if slightly unsettling experience, every word uttered by Ian Curtis and empowered by the masterful musicianship of the band is engraved in a legacy that only grows with the passing years. once you’ve heard it, there’s no going back, this is the way, step inside.
The Beatles, Revolver: the fab four, the most successful (if not the best) band in music history, hit their peak at the very same time, after giving signs of maturing on Rubber Soul, this is were they truly stepped in the game, from McCartney’s flawless compositions to Lennon’s wild experiments, everything in Revolver seems to archieve and redefine perfection, and as the Beatles pushed boundaries, music as a whole followed, but even so, few if any dared to make a record such as this one, and believe me when I say, those who tried, failed, and, really, who can blame them?
The Clash, London Calling: Punk’s masterpiece, London Calling is one of the most adventurous albums that graced the earth, embracing ska, reggae and constantly evolving and developing their sound, The Clash trascended the limitations of the genre (effectively killing it) and managed to create the best double album in music’s history, everything, from the rampaging title track to the closer “Train In Vain” is gold, for the punk genre, it was the glorious final act, after London Calling, there was no returning.
David Bowie, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars: a bombastic concept album and glam rock finest offering, David Bowie’s Ziggy persona may raise suspicion and it’s often the victim of a cynic approach, but it’s impossible to deny the power of the songs it contains, some of them rank among the best the White Duke ever put into tape, the concept may be loose, and Ziggy may be a bit pretentious, but give it a spin and see how it plays, it doesn’t get better than this
Nirvana, MTV Unplugged in New York: one of the most harrowing performances ever recorded, the Unplugged show captured Nirvana at the peak of their power, moreover, it gave Cobain the chance to lay his songs bare, show his influences, and, above all, give a final scream for help, the lilies and candles? the morbid setlist? those weren’t coincidences, no hits were played, except for a barebones rendition of “Come As You Are”, it was the 18 of November, the year 1993, on that day Kurt Cobain painted his final self-portrait, nobody saw it coming, and all that’s left is this, one of the most powerful statements of tortured integrity, the rest goes down to history
My Bloody Valentine, Loveless: if London Calling signified Punk’s death, Loveless signified Shoegazers demise, a record never to be topped, Loveless and its multiple layers were created across multiple studios, and worked on by no less than 16 sound engineers, it took three years, nearly bankrupted a label, nearly disintegrated a band, and in the end, it made all the other genre offers seem like a child’s play, Loveless, with its swirling guitars, the unique “needle in the fluff” sound, and its intricate arrangements, is yet to be bettered, perhaps it’ll never be, but that was the whole point, it seems, if not ask Kevin Shields
The Cure, Disintegration: the coronation album of post-punk, Disintegration took everything The Cure ever did and mastered it, it’s lush, expansive arrangements, the impeccable production, and above all, Robert Smith’s songwriting gave the album an edge that blew the competition out of the water, the true culmination of The Cure’s career is an album a thousand times imitated, but never once matched.
Pixies, Surfer Rosa: yes, Doolittle may hold the hits and the best known songs, but Surfer Rosa ignited the revolution and set the template for just about every alternative record that made it big on the early nineties and beyond, now, let’s put this simple, every single band, from Radiohead to Nirvana to The Strokes has Pixies on their dna, and truth is, they never released a record that could match neither Rosa or Doolittle, an alternative dream of ridiculously amazing songs, Surfer Rosa is even bigger than its shadow, and that’s saying something